OXFORD, Miss. — The entire University of Mississippi football team walked out of practice Friday morning, protesting police brutality in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
Holding signs that call for an end to police brutality, players and coaches marched to the courthouse in Oxford, where they gathered at the base of a Confederate monument.
A post from the football team’s Twitter account said, in part, “our team stands united to embrace our diversity and promote a culture of peace, equality and understanding.”
Head Coach Lane Kiffin said he agreed with the team’s decision to “march in unity and use their platform to send a message.”
“I’m proud of our players coming together for justice and change,” Kiffin said in a statement.
Oxford police said Friday’s demonstration was not a permitted event and police were not made aware until the event started.
This isn’t the first time the school’s football players have raised their concerns.
After a Confederate soldier statue was relocated to a cemetery on campus, players complained it was visible from their practice field. The university has since erected a 20-foot-tall barrier to block the view.
While Friday morning’s demonstration was peaceful, some wished it had been better planned.
“The First Amendment is sacred, protest is sacred. But with that said, they are doing that on the university’s dime and that could have been better thought out,” said Ron Cox, a University of Mississippi graduate.
Football teams at the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State also did not attend practice Friday.