The issues Chip Kelly had with eroding player trust during his years in Philadelphia have followed him to Westwood.
A group of 30 UCLA football players sent the school’s athletic administration a statement expressing a lack of faith in Kelly’s ability to keep them safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
Kelly, the Eagles’ head coach from 2013 through 2015, has been at UCLA since 2018.
According to the L.A. Times, the players met Thursday night in a virtual team meeting and demanded that the school’s athletic administration furnish an independent, third-party medical official who will be available at all the team’s practices and football activities to guarantee that safety protocols are being followed.
Some members of UCLA’s football team are scheduled to return to practice and participate in voluntary workouts on Monday, according to the paper.
The letter also demanded that the players have a way to anonymously report violations without retribution.
According to the paper, the letter written by the players said UCLA’s administration has “perpetually failed us” and “mismanaged injury cases.”
The Times obtained a copy of the letter, which was signed by the players, including projected starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
It read in part:
“These demands reflect our call for an environment in which we do not feel pressured to return to competition, and if we choose not to return, that our decision will be respected. If our demands are not met, we will refrain from booster events, recruiting events and all football-related promotional activities. The decision to return to training amidst a global pandemic has put us, the student-athletes, on the frontlines of a battle that we as a nation have not yet been able to win. We feel that as some of the first members of the community to attempt a return to normalcy, we must have assurances that allow us to make informed decisions and be protected regardless of our decision.”
Kelly is 7-17 at UCLA. He was 2-14 in his one year with the 49ers, and 7-12 in his last 19 games with the Eagles. So he’s 16-43 in his last 59 games as a head coach.
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