Mike Locksley proud of his players' response to Black Lives Matter protests

Mike Locksley proud of his players' response to Black Lives Matter protests

In response to vast numbers of people protesting police brutality and racial injustice throughout the country over the last week, Maryland football coach Mike Locksley decided to have a team meeting. 

Locksley's goal was to communicate with his players, hear their concerns and educate the team as best he could.

"I thought it was really important to create a dialogue," Locksley said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "I coach a microcosm of our society. We have all types of races, religions and socio-economic groups on our football team and the last thing you want is the things that are happening out in the real world to creep into something I feel like we've made some gains in building a cohesive team."

Throughout the meeting, Locksley couldn't stress enough how important respect was to the equation. 

"There are no clear-cut answers to it, that's the hard part," he said. "[I'll] by no means try to quiet their voices or stop them. Just go out there and express their feelings, but I also wanted them to educate themselves on what they were saying and what they were feeling and not make emotional decisions, but really think things through.

"I also wanted them to remember that the underlying word that comes to mind with all of these tragedies and all of these things that continue to happen is respect," he said. "If you have respect for someone, those types of [emotional] decisions are hard to make."

Maryland football released a united statement from the players Tuesday, stating their desire to become, "difference makers" and "leaders in creating change" in their community. Not only did the statement condemn racial injustice and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Freddie Gray, but it provided solutions to bring about change.

"There's one thing to put a statement out and it's another thing to have solutions," he said. "They wanted to educate themselves on the voting process. Far too many 18-22 year-olds in college don't take advantage of the ability we have to vote. They wanted to go out and become more involved in underserved communities with voter registration as well as getting people who can't get to the polls transportation to get them there."

Every player signed the statement, and most of the solutions were focused on voting. Locksley explained his players believe that is the best avenue for change.

"I thought it was a tremendous answer as a team and for 18-22 year-olds to think that deeply, I was really proud of them coming up with just not the statement piece but what they wanted to do or could do to try and make a difference down the road."

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NCAA NEWS:

Maryland football coach Mike Locksley releases statement on George Floyd's death

locksleyumd.png
USA TODAY Sports Images

Maryland football coach Mike Locksley releases statement on George Floyd's death

Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley released a statement on social media following the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, a black man, died in police custody after a police officer kept his knee on his neck for several minutes. His death has sparked civil unrest and protests in Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York City, Richmond, Va. and several other cities across the country. 

The statement read:

I've been truly struggling attempting to grasp the events of the past few days. My heart goes out to George Floyd and his family. As a father and a coach of players for 30 years that look like George Floyd and myself, it breaks my heart to see this type of behavior continue to be accepted. Regardless of race and color, it's sad and scary to know that these type of events continue to happen in our communities. 

This type of senseless tragedy should never happen and cannot ever be normalized. I will continue to pray that none of my children or players - past, present or future - ever run into the type of injustice that we've seen this week. I sincerely hop ethat these tragedies make us all take some time to think about how we view and treat others. It's on all of us to CREATE CHANGE and DO THE RIGHT THING.

Several other athletes have used their platforms to address Floyd's death and the civil unrest that has followed. Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle released a statement on racism on Friday. Wizards star Bradley Beal sent a series of tweets to address some of the protests.

Quick Links

Sean Payton looks back on his short stint as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland

Sean Payton looks back on his short stint as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland

Before he was a Super Bowl coach, before he was even an NFL coach, Saints coach Sean Payton was a Maryland Terrapin coach.

For a few months in the offseason at least. 

Maryland coach Mike Locksley hosted Payton on "Late Night With Locks" and remembered that when starting in College Park for the first time, he was told his job depended on what Payton picked - running backs or receivers. Payton, then-Terps head coach Ron Vanderlinden knew at the time, was an up-and-coming star in the coaching ranks who had coached Marshall Faulk at San Diego State and had spent the year before as the quarterbacks coach at Illinois. (Click here to see the press release from when he was hired). 

SPORTS UNCOVERED: CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE STORY OF JORDAN'S TWO-WORD FAX THAT CHANGED THE NBA

"When I got hired at Maryland in '97," Locksley remembered, "I was told it would be either running backs or receivers. It all depends what Sean Payton wants to do. Sean Payton was a coach here from December through Signing Day of '97 and then went out to the Combine and got offered a quality control job with the Eagles and as your moving truck was coming to College Park to drop off a bunch of other stuff ... the moving truck just kept going."

Payton remembered the tumultuous time for the Terps as well. He came to College Park with former Illinois coach Lou Tepper, who was hired as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. "Coach Vanderlinden's trying to put his staff together, it's December, we're recruiting," he said. "And you've got to pick up your stuff on the fly, ready ready. And so you're hustling and one month Coach Tep decides he wanted to wait. And look, that was a big loss for (Vanderlinden) because Tep was like a father to him ... but Lou felt more comfortable going back. So that was change number one."

Three weeks later, another assistant, Terry Malone left for another job to be closer to his father, who was sick at the time.

"So (Vanderlinden) was good and came into the staff meeting and said 'anybody else who wants to get out of here now?'" Payton remembered. "And we're all looking around saying 'this isn't going to affect us.' And three days later I'm like man I'm that person. I was third person out of the bank. You don't want to be the third person out of the bank."

Payton left the Terps for a quality control job with the Eagles, not even coaching a game for the Terps. But he did leave a bit of a legacy, according to Locksley.

In his short time with the Terps, Locksley said, Payton played a role in getting Maryland great Lamont Jordan to play at College Park. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NCAA NEWS: