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Local athletes take to Twitter to share thoughts, feelings in wake of George Floyd's death

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • Local athletes shared their thoughts after George Floyd's death on Twitter.
  • Former Red Lion quarterback Chad Kelly received negative feedback from posts.
  • Susquehannock grad Randy Edsall shared a post of solidarity with the UConn players.
University of Maryland graduate and former football team captain Ellis McKennie, right, joined a protest in Hanover on Sunday alongside his sister, Ava McKennie. The George Washington Law School student is from McSherrystown.

Just like prominent sports figures across the country and the world, some athletes from the York area have taken to social media to express their thoughts and feelings in the wake of George Floyd's death while in police custody in Minnesota.

In addition to posts on Twitter, Ellis McKennie from McSherrystown joined protesters in Hanover last weekend. The former University of Maryland graduate and offensive lineman will attend George Washington Law School. He was a team captain at Maryland and a squad leader in the wake of Jordan McNair’s death during a 2018 practice.

“Today we will not be silent,” McKennie wrote on Twitter. “Tomorrow we will fight on. In November we will make change. #BlackLivesMatter #silenceiscompliance #SayTheirNames.”

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Erik Harris: Las Vegas Raiders safety and New Oxford High School graduate Erik Harris shared messages on his Instagram and Twitter on Tuesday. Along with a black photograph to participate in the Blackout Tuesday movement, Harris added a passage from the Bible that encapsulated his thoughts on the issue.

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“Mark 12:31 ‘The second is EQUALLY as important. LOVE your NEIGHBOR as YOURSELF. No other commandment is greater than these.’”

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Chad Kelly: NFL player Chad Kelly also shared his thoughts on social media, but he received some negative feedback from fellow players. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback and former Red Lion High athlete shared a pair of messages on Twitter that were met with opposition.

“My grandfather grew up in an orphanage, my other grandfather got drafted into the army to fight for this country,” Kelly wrote on Sunday. “Nothing (has) ever been easy in this country. People are dealt difficult situations and it’s what you do about it that defines you. Be different and inspire change!”

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Arizona Cardinals lineman and Kelly’s former teammate with the Denver Broncos, Max Garcia, responded: “Chad, I love you brother, but this ain’t it.”

Tuesday, Kelly posted another message on Twitter that received mixed response online and drew criticism from a current teammate.

“Man we need change!” Kelly wrote. “We need serious change! Everyone do your part, be a part of the solution! Educate the younger generation! Go vote, go help make changes in your community! Everyone deserves to be treated equally! #EveryoneMatters.”

Fellow Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett commented: “You Trippin.”

Randy Edsall: Another member of the local football community, University Connecticut head coach and Susquehannock High graduate Randy Edsall, shared a tweet in solidarity with the players on his team. Edsall retweeted a post with a statement signed by the Huskies’ players on Monday.

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“After speaking with our team this morning regarding the police brutality and racial injustice that exists in our country, I am proud to stand with our student athletes to listen and support real changes that need to happen now,” Edsall wrote. “I love these guys and what they stand for.” 

Trinity Thomas: Wednesday, University of Florida gymnast and former West York High athlete Trinity Thomas posted a message to explain why the Gators Gymnastics’ Twitter account had not yet made a statement against racism and police brutality like so many other teams and organizations. Thomas’ comments were in part a response to a tweet by former Florida gymnast Kennedy Baker, who criticized the program on Monday for not releasing a statement and claimed she was subjected to racism and silenced during her career.

Thomas wrote on Twitter that she has been welcomed into the team and faced nothing like what Baker described and explained that it was important for the 18 members of the team to come together and discuss what they wanted the statement to say before it was posted. 

The Gators Gymnastics’ Twitter account posted a statement signed by the athletes and coaches on Wednesday. It read, in part:

“Today is the day that we stand and take responsibility and action to initiate change in order to make a difference,” the team account posted on Twitter. “We, Gators Gymnastics, have always said that our family is about more than just gymnastics. Now it is time to act on it together. We are here to stand for what is right. We believe change needs to happen and will use our platform to combat oppression."

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Baker replied to Thomas’ tweet explaining the reasons for the delay in the statement and said, “Love you thank you,” and posted that she had a discussion with Florida coach Jenny Rowland on Monday after her tweet.

Darian McCauley: West York High graduate Darian McCauley, now a goalkeeper for the Charleston Battery of the United Soccer League, shared his thoughts on the issue on Sunday. McCauley asked in his tweet for fellow white athletes to use their platform to help combat racism.

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“I am not one to typically give my take in politics or anything of sort, but what is going on in our country and the relationships I have with my friends and family, I cannot stay silent,” McCauley wrote in part. “What happened to George Floyd is sickening and something I cannot wrap my head around. A black man was murdered by a white police officer, while his colleagues stood by and watched it happen. A human killed another human for being another race. These things have happened far too often. It was absolutely abuse of power and racism. Racism and institutional racism are problems that our country face on a daily basis. Truthfully, they are problems that someone like myself has never had to face or deal with to this day. I am a white privileged male that can go for a jog in a neighborhood with no problems, I can go into a store and not be followed because of the color of my skin. Many others of different races cannot do the same things that I can do without worrying that they are being targeted.

“To all of my friends who are in a privileged position like myself, please do not be afraid to speak up on this. Show your support; donate, be there for anyone and everyone affected by this, protest peacefully, etc. To all of my brothers and sisters and friends of different races that go through these struggles daily, I am here for you. I support you and will have your back day in and day out and will always be here as an outlet or a friend. I do not tolerate racism of any kind and it is something that needs to be removed from our country and the entire world. If anyone needs an outlet or someone to talk to, please reach out to me. It is time to oust racism and bring out all of the love and compassion for one another. It is time to make a change. Much love to you all.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.