As protesters began to fill downtown Seattle on Saturday, University of Washington football coach Jimmy Lake released a statement expressing his anguish and anger over the death of Minnesota man George Floyd.
An African American, Floyd died on May 25 after a white police officer in Minneapolis detained him, placed a knee on his neck to restrain him and callously ignored the man's pleas when he said he couldn't breathe.
Floyd's death is one of several this year involving black people at the hands of white individuals, prompting Lake to join several sports coaches and players to express their outrage.
"The incidents of the past few months must spark a change for us to do better as a society," Lake said in his statement released on Twitter. "This is about injustice that has gone on for way too long."
Video of Floyd's death spurred protests across the country, some accompanied by acts of violence. A Minneapolis police station was destroyed by fire, as were several businesses in that city and elsewhere across the country.
Seattle hosted peaceful protests early in the day but it was not spared by widespread property destruction. People descended on the downtown area to set several police cars on fire and loot businesses, forcing city officials to declare a curfew from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the city.
Lake encouraged his football players and others to respond in a civilized manner to the disturbing events gripping the country.
"My message to our team and beyond is being respectful, loving, honest, forthright, caring and compassionate can do a lot to bring people together and make a change for the better," he said.