In a joint statement, the schools said, “As members of the Florida and Ole Miss football teams, we recognize the impact of our personal platforms and are choosing to amplify the issues that directly impact us. Together we have chosen to take the opening series of today’s competition to acknowledge the unrest in our country surrounding the treatment of African Americans. We will continue to support social justice efforts as members of the Southeastern Conference and members of our respective communities.”
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) September 26, 2020
ESPN’s Marty Smith reported the idea came from head coaches Dan Mullen and Lane Kiffin. Everybody on the field and on both sidelines kneeled together before the game began.
Programs across the country have acknowledged the current racial and social justice movements with patches on their jerseys, stickers on their helmets and special T-shirts during pregame warm-ups. Florida players wore SEC Together shirts during their pregame warm-ups, and produced a video last week that showed local police officers meeting with the team.
Kiffin and Ole Miss also joined Mississippi State in lobbying the state of Mississippi to change its flag, and they were successful in those efforts.