COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin on Sunday made his first public comments since the death of George Floyd on May 25.
Protesters have taken to the streets across the United States, including in Kansas City, to denounce racial injustice and police brutality after Floyd's death. Floyd, a black man, died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin applied his knee to Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes while he laid on the ground saying he couldn't breathe.
Martin, MU's lone black head coach, released his statement on Twitter and Instagram, with strong words against the oppression of black people and systematic racial issues.
"It has to stop. The violence toward people of color, the hate, the racism, the systemic oppression. It has to stop. Our voices matter. Our LIVES matter. For too long, we've seen it time and time again -- from Dr. King's marches, to the LA riots, and our fight today -- it's gone on far too long and it cannot keep happening.
"I am heartbroken at the murder of George Floyd and so many others, and to see them senselessly ripped away from loved ones. I am a husband, a parent and a leader of inspiring young black men. We shouldn't have to live in fear -- enough is enough. While I'm on this earth, my voice won't be silent until the injustice stops.
"It goes beyond a post on social media. It's time to join 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. Now, more than ever before, it's important to love each other, to listen to each other and grow together. All a man ever wants to do is be respected. We must do better. It has to stop."
Missouri football coach Eliah Drinkwitz and MU women's basketball coach Robin Pingeton also shared statements on social media.
"I pray for Justice. I pray for the courage to stand for what is right," Drinkwitz tweeted. "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."
"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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