Both the Boston College and South Florida football teams didn’t practice on Thursday amid ongoing unrest after police shot Jacob Blake in the back multiple times on Sunday.
The decisions by the teams to not practice and instead hold conversations about systemic racism and injustice in the United States came as some NFL teams decided not to practice and the Milwaukee Bucks chose a wildcat strike of their Wednesday playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The Bucks’ decision led to the NBA calling off all playoff games both Wednesday and Thursday.
“We felt it was best as a staff, as a team not to practice,” Boston College coach Jeff Hafley said. “And I felt very strongly about that. We got together this morning instead and first met as a team and guys got up and spoke, coaches got up and spoke. And it was very touching, it was very emotional. Then we broke up into smaller groups and we continued those conversations that went on, probably longer than our practice would have went on.”
South Florida coach Jeff Scott got emotional when he discussed his team’s decision not to practice. Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back multiple times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as he tried to get into his vehicle. The incident was captured on video.
“The biggest thing that’s important in this is — these are real-life situations that are going on,” Scott said. “As a coach, you always take pride in being able to fix things for your players. Like a coach or a dad, you want to fix whatever the problem is. And this is one of those situations that as a coach you can’t fix it for your players.”
After BC and USF didn’t practice, Kentucky players walked off the practice field on Thursday.
“I can confirm the Kentucky football team decided to leave the practice field and are meeting right now to discuss more ways to promote their influence and be a part of effective change,” a statement from a UK football spokesperson said.
As of early Thursday evening, six schools had chosen not to practice on Thursday according to Sports Illustrated. Baylor, Mississippi State and Western Kentucky also didn’t practice.
#Baylor football players have joined six other FBS schools choosing not to practice today to protest social injustice, source tells @SINow.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) August 27, 2020
BU joins Western Kentucky, Mississippi State, USF, Boston College, Kentucky and App State.
“I do believe we had some really great conversations today,” Hafley said. “Because things do need to change. There’s too much hate. And there needs to be more love. And it’s sad. And I’m very very proud of our football team and our coaching staff today.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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