Bruce Arians has always publicly supported the fight for equality. And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach has never been worried about speaking his mind.
Arians, like many others around the sporting world, was asked about recent protests after George Floyd’s death. Unlike many of the carefully crafted (and sometimes not so thoughtful) statements made on the situation, Arians’ thoughts didn’t seem filtered. He had a sharp awareness of the big picture and what happens next.
It was clear, watching him speak on the video conference with reporters Thursday, the issue is personal to him.
Bruce Arians: ‘Don’t stop’
Arians has been watching recent current events like everyone else.
“We all know when we see something that is horrific and wrong,” Arians said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN. “The last three events are wrong. They’re murders. Hopefully justice will be served, quickly.”
Bruce Arians talks about his own experiences growing up in the civil rights movement and how he believes we move forward now as a country. “Don’t just go back to being silent. Because then it’s gonna happen again.” pic.twitter.com/pXghYIp8Rx— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) June 4, 2020
Arians, who went to high school in York, Pennsylvania, talked about seeing the National Guard in his hometown during the unrest of the late 1960s. He said he sees what’s going on today and wonders if anything has improved since then, though he said he thinks “a lot has.”
Unsurprisingly, Arians is supportive of the nationwide protests. He hoped that when the current protests die down, there is still progress toward equality afterward.
“I love the fact that people are upset and raising their voices, but don’t stop,” Arians said. “It’s one thing to march, and protest, but it’s another thing to take action. When the protesting is over, I would urge everybody to take action. Do something positive to help the situation. Don’t just go back to being silent, because then it’s going to happen again.”
Arians has a diverse staff
Arians also talked about going to Virginia Tech and being the first white player to room with a black teammate, James Barber. That was 50 years ago.
“It’s very disheartening,” Arians said, via Laine. “Growing up and being a part of it personally, you would hope that we would not be in 2020 still dealing with these issues."
Arians had three black coordinators last season — Byron Leftwich (offense), Todd Bowles (defense), and Keith Armstrong (special teams) — the first time an NFL team could say that.
“They just happened to be black,” Arians told Yahoo Sports last year. “That’s the best way I can put it. They’re the best I know.”
The 2019 Bucs were also the first team to have two full-time female assistants: defensive line assistant Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar.
When Arians talks about action, they’re not empty words. He can back it up, and presumably will continue to do so. Hopefully, others follow his lead.
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