Players and Staff Praise Pruitt For Support Against Police Brutality

Volunteer Country Staff

Earlier in the month, Tennessee players and coaches marched through the streets of Knoxville in a peaceful protest against police brutality. During this week’s episode of “The Slice” — a podcast by the University of Tennessee which focuses on players' personal lives — a few players and coaches spoke out about how they felt regarding the recent news that has flooded the United States of America.

“Prior to the event I had no clue or indication that Coach Pruitt was going to be there,” said Tennessee offensive guard Trey Smith. “So just, like, seeing him and walking, marching with him, you know, that spoke volumes for his character in my opinion.” Smith, who is one of the leaders on Tennessee’s team, spoke at the peaceful protest alongside Pruitt and a few other Volunteers that wanted to exercise their rights.

Wide receiver coach Tee Martin also participated in the discussion with “The Slice.” When asked what it meant to work under someone like Jeremy Pruitt who was not afraid to stand up for Civil Rights, Martin replied: “It means a lot, as a former player at the University of Tennessee, it’s good to see someone at the helm that keeps the players in mind, and do what’s best for university and the players… All of our staff has been included, all of our staff has been supportive, and you couldn’t ask for a better leader during this time right now.” 

Tennessee cornerback Alontae Taylor spoke upon how difficult it is to not know if someone on campus thinks of him differently just because of the color of his skin during the episode as well. “I can say from the support from the football team and a couple non-African-American friends that I have that they speak up with no hesitation,” said Taylor. “But it’s the people that you see everyday on campus, like, you don’t know if they’re racist, if they don’t like you or if they hate you, but until then we have to just focus on what we can do to create the change.”

You can listen to the full episode of "The Slice" here.