WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Thursday evening, more than 20 members of the Purdue football program took part in a march from the team's practice facility to the Tippecanoe County Courthouse to honor the late George Floyd, who died on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, Minn.
The two-mile march the Purdue football team facilitated in their jerseys took place in the wake of Floyd's untimely death, which has caused a national response, including protests and riots in some areas.
When the Boilermakers arrived at the steps of the courthouse, they kneeled in solidarity for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck, which was filmed and the troubling video surfaced sweeping the nation by storm.
The moment of silence for Floyd and the symbolism which they kneeled for was poetic in a sense and tremendously represented peaceful protest and showed honor to the fallen victims of police brutality.
One Purdue player stated, "My knees hurt. Think about how bad your knees hurt. Now, he (George Floyd) couldn't breathe for that long," in a video on Instagram, which provided great perspective regarding the matter.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm took part in the organized march, as well. Brohm said earlier this week, "Very powerful and emotional forum tonight with our players and coaching staff. I think our team came closer together and are unified as we actively seek change and promote healing in our society. Heartfelt emotions and inspiring messages of hope. Be the light," via his Twitter.
Also earlier in the week, Purdue football put out a statement and video via their Twitter, stating, "Purdue Football is committed to social justice and equality. We are unified as we actively seek change and promote healing in our society."
“All of us. Family. We do it together. We’re doing this together,” Purdue linebacker Jaylan Alexander said in a video he filmed and posted via his Instagram account. "It doesn't matter how long we're walking because we're doing this for a reason," Alexander went on to say. "We are doing this for our people."
Fifth-year defensive back Simeon Smiley organized the march. In times of national tragedy, dialogue is certainly created, but action is also necessary and Smiley and the other members of the Purdue football team exercised their rights perfectly to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter and social injustice.
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