Texas football coach Tom Herman empathizes with black student-athletes and the double standard that he says fans have regarding them.
Discussing race relations in an interview with the Austin American-Statesman on Monday, Herman said he knows that something as simple as being pulled over for making an illegal U-turn can be a very different experience for him, compared to his black student-athletes.
“I will never know, you will never know, none of us will ever know what it’s like to have that genuine fear,” Herman told the American-Statesman.
“When I make an illegal U-turn and get pulled over, I fear about what the cost of the ticket is going to be. I don’t fear that I’m going to get dragged out of my car and maybe killed because of something I said or did. And that’s real for them.”
Herman does not believe that the average fan can relate, and he believes that there is a double standard.
“We’re going to pack 100,000 people into (the stadium) and millions watch on TV that are predominantly white — not all of them certainly, but most of ’em white,” Herman told the American-Statesman. “We’re gonna cheer when they score touchdowns, and we’re gonna hug our buddy when they get sacks or an interception.
“But we gonna let them date our daughter? Are we going to hire them in a position of power in our company? That’s the question I have for America. You can’t have it both ways.”
Herman told the newspaper he believes that if you’re going to cheer for players of color on the field, that feeling shouldn’t change once they’re off. He said that they deserve the same amount of respect and human rights that everyone in this country should be afforded, according to the interview.
Protests have erupted in cities around the US, sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man, while being arrested by Minneapolis officers.
Herman held a three-hour virtual team meeting with his players on Monday and opened the floor for athletes to open up and vent. He said that “emotions were “all over the place,” but they discussed how to best unite as a team to create real change.