Cory Durden, FSU Players Organize Unity Walk After Killing of George Floyd

TALLAHASSEE, FL - JUNE 13: Defensive tackle Cory Durden #16 of the Florida State Football Team speaks with the crowd during a unity walk on June 13, 2020 in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State players and members of the football coaching staff led fans and supporters on a unity walk from the Doak Campbell Stadium on the Florida State University campus to the state capitol building in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests erupted across the nation after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25th. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

With protests against systemic racism and police brutality continuing to gain momentum around the country, Florida State’s football players wanted to make sure the message was heard loud and clear on campus.

To make that happen, defensive tackle Cory Durden first went to his head coach, Mike Norvell, to help produce a unity walk that would continue to spark discussions of meaningful change in Tallahassee, Florida.

“I feel like with the coronavirus and everything that’s going on around the world, I feel like we needed to do something to bring everyone together,” Durden told Curt Weiler of the Tallahassee Democrat. “This is a way to get around each other, get the chemistry and just support a cause that is important… Times are changing in America. It’s a different time right now, it’s just so tough with everything going on. Personally, I just had a child and it’s scary. How am I supposed to raise my child with everything going on in the world?”

The walk took place Saturday, with players marching from Doak Campbell Stadium to the state capitol building about 1.5 miles away.

At the start, Norvell addressed the crowd of hundreds who came out to show their support.

“A unified country shows the importance and necessity of all black lives and the importance of everybody being on that page and that message to unify together,” Norvell said. “I’m grateful to see everybody out here be a part of this.”

The march is one of several different demonstrations that have taken place on college campuses around the country with football players leading the way.

On June 3, players a the University of Missouri led a march through campus that ended with a voter registration event. Friday, players at the University of Texas sent a letter to administrators outlining demands that would help address racism at the school, while on Saturday, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney marched with his team through campus in South Carolina in the team-organized “A March for Change.”

In Florida, FSU players were joined by people from nearby Florida A&M as well as Tallahassee Community College and the Tallahassee community at large.

“One of the proudest moments I’ve had was earlier this week,” Norvell said. “When one of our football players took ownership and leadership in helping to organize this entire event and the encouragement and support of this team to include all of Tallahassee so that we could have a moment together showing our support for this entire community and this entire country with one unified voice and one unified action.”

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