Drinkwitz was joined by more than 60 of his players, University of Missouri System President Mun Choi, basketball coaches Cuonzo Martin and Robin Pingeton, Athletic Director Jim Sterk and members of the Columbia and university police departments on the march from campus to the Boone County Courthouse. And after the players took a knee at the courthouse plaza for 8 minutes 46 seconds — the time in which Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck last week — 62 Missouri athletes registered to vote, Drinkwitz said.
“Today we decided that action is what causes change,” Drinkwitz tweeted after the walk. “Our integrity is when words and actions come into alignment. So we did that. Our players led a powerful walk to the courthouse where we took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor the life of George Floyd and demand justice. This isn’t political. It’s a human rights issue. And then we registered to vote. Sixty-two student athletes registered. Change will happen.”
“That was my heart behind it,” Tigers linebacker Gerald Nathan Jr. said about registering, per the Missourian. “Like, if I’m going have a say in it, I should have action behind it, too.”
“He didn’t say we had to,” he continued, talking about Drinkwitz’s voter-registration idea. “He said that’s something that we should do.”
Martin aired his thoughts on the protests to the Columbia Tribune.
“If you protest, that’s your human right. I think you protest how you feel. So I would always try to stay away from violence in protests. You never want violence and of course you don’t want looting. So you want to stay away from those things. That’s part of your human right. If you feel the need to protest, that is your right. That’s all races,” he said. “And the only thing I would say in all that, try to be responsible, be aware of your surroundings, stay away from harming people or harming your community. I live in this community, right? Coming from East St. Louis, Columbia is my home. I live here. I don’t want to see my home being harmed and trashed. So, if you [protest], I would pray that you do it with nobody getting hurt.”