Alabama head football coach Nick Saban called for “kindness” in the aftermath of violent riots over the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, George Floyd in Minnesota, and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.
Saban released a statement on Sunday as thousands of rioters burned buildings, pummeled bystanders, and looted businesses across the country from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The prolific football coach empathized with protesters before making a plea for unity.
I am shocked and angered by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We’re at an important moment for our country, and now is the time for us to choose kinds, tolerance, understanding, empathy, and most importantly … it’s time to love each other. Every life is precious, and we must understand we have so many more things that unite us than divide us.
I’ve always been inspired and encouraged by examples set by those who came before us like Dr. Martine Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and so many others who devoted their lives to finding peaceful ways to rid our society of social inequities. As Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We are all part of this and we must banish these types of injustices in not just our country, but our world. The ultimate future of our nation is in our hands, and like the teams I’ve been privileged to coach, we must depend on and respect each other no matter our differences. We must come together as a society and treat one another with respect and dignity.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) May 31, 2020
Historic levels of rioting hit nearly every major city in the United States late last week and over the weekend. Outside agitators reportedly partnered with local rioters to burn and steal from hundreds of businesses and attack innocent bystanders and police. Pundits have compared the level of violence to the civil rights riots of 1968 in the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.
The riots began as protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death a week ago. Online videos showed Minneapolis police officers pinning Floyd, who was handcuffed, to the ground. One officer, Derek Chauvin, held his knee on Floyd’s neck for roughly nine minutes while Floyd pleaded for mercy saying he could not breathe.
Floyd was later transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The four officers have been fired from the department and Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Protests formed later in the week after videos of Floyd’s arrest began circulating online. The protests devolved into riots. On Thursday, hundreds of rioters broke into the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct, where Chauvin and the other officers had been based, and razed the police headquarters. Police officers and National Guard forces had abandoned the precinct on the orders of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
On Sunday, violent riots took place in Washington, D.C., despite an 11 p.m. curfew put in place by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Rioters burned and looted businesses and other buildings, and set fire to outbuildings connected to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church located near the White House. Dozens of Secret Service agents were injured throughout the night.
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