Missouri men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin speaks at SEC Media Day (copy)

Missouri men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin, shown speaking at SEC Media Day in 2019, tweeted his outrage Sunday over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

MU athletics coaches in recent days spoke out about the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the subsequent protests around the country.

The national movement comes almost five years after a series of racist events, student protests and resignations by campus leadership put MU in the national spotlight.

MU head basketball coach Cuonzo Martin released a statement on Twitter on Sunday condemning the killing of Floyd and other black individuals by police.

“We shouldn’t have to live in fear — enough is enough,” Martin said. “While I’m on this earth, my voice won’t be silent until the injustice stops.”

Martin also encouraged action, listening and respect in an effort to “do better.”

“It goes beyond a post on social media. It’s time to join together in our pain, to mourn, to stand united against oppression and ACT to create change. We must live and lead with compassion for one another.”

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Nicodemus Christopher, MU basketball’s director of athletic performance, addressed his colleagues in a statement, criticizing the lack of action and voices from coaches.

“You scream at the top of your voice about protecting the profession and not bashing others’ methods but when black lives are being senselessly taken you’re silent,” he said. “Let me make this clear your silence is sending a message to your young black athletes. Your silence tells them that the “culture” in your home doesn’t match the “culture” in your weight room. How can you ignore their pain and suffering?”

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Athletic director Jim Sterk released a statement Sunday evening echoed an earlier call by the University of Missouri System condemning discrimination and violence.

“I challenge all of us to stand up for what is right and end the hate in our nation,” he said.

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MU head women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton also addressed the death of Floyd on Twitter on Saturday, vowing to act in the spirit of change.

“I am deeply saddened by the death of #GeorgeFloyd and other similar injustices,” Pingeton tweeted. “MY HEART IS SO HEAVY. I am committed to being a part of change in our society that should not tolerate these senseless acts of violence and blatant inequalities.”

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MU head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz posted an image Friday along with a tweet praying for justice, courage and change, although it did not directly mention Floyd and the events of the week. Drinkwitz also retweeted Martin’s statement Sunday.

“I pray for Justice. I pray for the courage to stand for what is right. I pray for the end of hate (in) our country. I pray for those hurting, and afraid. I pray that we see the NEED FOR CHANGE,” he tweeted Friday.

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MU head baseball coach Steve Bieser shared a post addressing the events of Minneapolis, encouraging his followers to read it and saying that “change is necessary for growth.”

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The UM System and MU Police both addressed Floyd’s death Thursday.

  • Galen Bacharier is a reporter and assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has previously reported on state government and higher education. Reach him at galenbacharier@gmail.com or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

  • Michael Knisley is the Sports Editor at the Missourian and an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism. His career includes stints at ESPN and The Sporting News. Reach him at knisleym@missouri.edu. knisleym@missouri.edu 573-882-5729

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