FAYETTEVILLE — On Tuesday night, a protest rally was held in Fayetteville following the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis.
Several thousand attended the protest including Arkansas’ head football coach Sam Pittman and some of his staff. Pittman was asked what made him decide to attend the event and how many of his staff went as well?
“I didn’t count the staff,” Pittman said. “I asked them if they wanted to go down there, I was going. So I can’t answer that. What made me go? Because I felt like I needed to go. I felt like in my heart I wanted to go. I wanted to support our football team. I wanted to support the protest. That’s what I believe in.
“I think you can tweet about stuff, you can do a lot of things. You can take a picture for somebody to show. You can do whatever you want. But actions are strong, And I felt like, for me, the best way for me to address the situation, was to go be a part of what could be a solution. I didn’t go down there for someone to take my picture. I went down there because I wanted to support the players on our football team and their families.”
Pittman talked about what he got out of the event and how he felt it went.
“It was awesome, No. 1,” Pittman said. “The people there were incredible. And, I don’t know. I got a feeling that I was proud I went. I don’t know how to explain it. I felt the same way coming in this morning to work. I went by the Square this morning and it was such a great situation. You wouldn’t even know there was anybody down there. So the people of Fayetteville did a wonderful job with the protest. I don’t know what else to say about it.”
One of the policemen involved in Floyd’s death has been charged. Pittman acknowledged that he talked to his team about this subject recently.
“We certainly addressed our team and those conversations are between myself and our football team,” Pittman said. “We certainly have spoken about it for the last week or however long ago it was when it started. We talk about it daily.”
Pittman also talked about some of the current team went to the protest on Tuesday night.
“Well, the protest was powerful, and I’m glad I had an opportunity to go down there,” Pittman said. “Our team, a lot of the kids on the team, were there, as well. We had asked them not to be there late. We certainly were not in any shape or form asking them not to go down there because I wanted to go down there. But the protests had gotten dangerous at some point at some places once the sun went down, once it got darker, once the protests were later, so we just asked our team that if they could and they felt good about it that we’d like for them to leave before sunset, and they did. It was very powerful. I was very honored to be a part of it and was glad I was able to go down there along with others on our coaching staff and our football team.”
The returning players can report on Monday and then in three more weeks the freshmen can come in.