Kiffin Suggests Ole Miss, Florida Have Planned Pregame Demonstration
Photo credit: University of Florida Athletic Association
There are no details finalized, at least publicly, in regards to a pregame demonstration in response to social injustices prior to Florida's season-opener at Ole Miss. However, one can be expected, and there's a chance that it will be in unison between the two teams.
Mississippi head coach Lane Kiffin said on Monday that the two programs, "as long as it goes to plan," are working on a demonstration together.
"We have an idea of what we're going to do. I think it'll be pretty neat when you guys see it," Kiffin said. "Both teams are on the same page."
As the NFL, college, and even high school football seasons have kicked off, players across the country have begun to utilize their platform to speak out against racism and social injustices such as police brutality. A notable example including the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans players and coaching, prior to the NFL season-opening game on September 10th, standing arms linked across the field during a moment of silence.
Protests prior to football games gained notoriety in 2016 when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the United States national anthem, protesting police brutality and racism throughout the country.
The movement against racism and for social justice gained significant momentum this year following deaths by police and former law enforcement of multiple Black Americans, including 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Ga., and other fatal and non-fatal incidents.
Gators players and coaches have been openly active in supporting the causes for social justice and standing against racism, with the majority of the team and staff taking part in a protest in Gainesville last month, including head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen has been vocal recently about taking time to listen and educate on the matter, rather than being ignorant to the injustices that happen.
Florida also recently hosted the Gainesville police department for a forum between players and officers, discussing current issues across the country, how police are looking to correct them, and education on the operation of law enforcement.
The state of Mississippi passed a bill to change its state flag, which includes the Confederate battle emblem, in late June after a push by Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill, his teammates and athletes from Ole Miss, Kiffin, Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach, and others.
Regarding a pregame demonstration, Gators running back Malik Davis said on Monday that the team has talked about organizing some form of activity in the past, "but nothing has been set specifically yet."
Earlier in the month, Mullen said that the team has discussed doing something before games to share a message, wanting it to "be meaningful without having it become a distraction for the task at hand, which is us trying to win a football game.”
What Florida and Ole Miss have up their sleeve has yet to be seen, but fans should be prepared for an event before kickoff.