Some college football coaches like to only talk about football. They prance around in their 'Football Matters' t-shirts worrying about which five-star recruit they're going to call next or how they want to gameplan for the season opener three months from now.
Karl Dorrell is not one of those coaches.
Dorrell understands the impact coaches can have on their athletes and one of his main goals is empowering his players to speak out for what they believe in.
Some coaches have tried to silence their players, Dorrell will try to do the exact opposite.
"I think it’s important for our country to kind of step up like this and empower our young people to be a big part of the process," Dorrell said. "Voting is going to be big this year with everything that’s going on. There’s a lot of big dynamics that are about to come to the forefront here in a short period of time. And I think our young people should be involved in that.”
A week ago Monday, Dorrell held a team meeting following the protests all over the country that weekend after George Floyd was murdered by police officers.
It was not to talk about football. It was about having a discussion, a discussion that has been described as very emotional.
“I’ve been very pleased with my players’ reaction to this issue of social injustice and systemic discrimination,” Dorrell said. “A week ago Monday we had a great team meeting for about two hours. I said some things that were very emotional. The players said some things that were very emotional. I think what came from it is we wanted to quickly put something into action that shows a sign of support and unity about wanting to make this change, and them wanting to be a big factor in taking a step forward in that process. So we did organize that rally last Friday and it went very well.”
They planned the march on Friday to protest for social justice and it was very successful for the most part.
“We had a number of people, not just on the football side, but a number of our student-athletes," Dorrell said. "We had faculty, people in our athletic department. And just casual bystanders in and around campus that got word of it and wanted to be part of it. I think it was a really good turnout."
There was some criticism about the issues that were discussed and the lack of cooperation with the black organizations on CU's campus. But they let their voices be heard and that's what is most important.
It won't stop there. Dorrell says that he wants activism to be a monthly occurrence.
“We talked as recently as (Monday) morning that we probably want to do something actively at least once a month," Dorrell said. "I’m not saying we want to protest, but I would say we want to make for certain that this subject doesn’t just kind of wane as time goes by, which a lot of these things tend to do from time to time. It is definitely something that’s going to be on our agenda throughout the year."
This is a new age of athletes with a platform. And the Colorado Buffaloes are going to utilize it.