Florida state Norvell apologizes to his team for being accused of lying

FSU's Mike Norvell AP File Photo

Florida State’s Mike Norvell apologized Thursday after a star player accused the coach of lying about personal contact with each footballer to discuss the murder of George Floyd’s police and subsequent protests against racial injustice.

After a team meeting early on Thursday with players and coaches, defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, who called up his freshman coach on Twitter the night before, took to social media again to finalize the case.

“We have taken a position that we have got what we wanted and we are moving forward,” Wilson wrote on Instagram. He also posted a nearly four-minute video explaining how the team plans to register to vote and raise funds for organizations that help send young black people to college and help poor children in the Tallahassee, Florida region .

Black, Wilson, said on Twitter on Wednesday evening that he and his teammates were “ outraged ” at Norvell’s characterization of having individually touched each player’s base over the weekend.

Norvell issued a statement saying this was a mistake. “At the moment, words are especially important and I’m sorry,” he said.

Florida State Athletic Director David Coburn, who appeared on Thursday morning during a meeting with the school’s Board of Trustees, told the board about the online meeting with the players and Norvell, which has been working for about six months.

“I was told that the dialogue was open and very frank and that it was going well. I think we will continue there,” Coburn told the board.

38-year-old Norvell was hired from Memphis in December to replace Willie Taggart, who was fired from Seminoles after less than two full seasons. Norvell is the fourth coach Wilson played for during his Florida State career, including Jimbo Fisher, now with Texas A&M, and interim head coach and current FSU assistant Odell Haggins.

The Athletic reported on Tuesday that Norvell said, “I went back and forth with each player individually this weekend,” when asked what he was doing to connect with players after the death of Floyd, a black-cuffed man who died. through Minneapolis Police have sparked nationwide protests.

Wilson then said on Twitter that Norvell’s comment was a “ lie ” because all players had received “ generated text sent to everyone. ” Wilson added that he and his teammates would not train until further notice.

Wilson is one of the best defensive tackles in the country and was team captain last season. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound senior missed the last four games of 2019 with a hand injury that required surgery. He still led the team with 5 sacks and comes in as a potential first round draft pick this season.

Norvell said in his statement that the text was sent to every player and presented as “an opportunity for open communication with me.”

“Many members of our team have chosen to respond and have more in-depth conversations about problems and feelings,” said Norvell. “Marvin is right. It was a mistake to use the word ‘every’. “

The state of Florida has also released the content of the message Norvell sent to every player on Saturday night. It said in part, “I know there is anger and strong feelings every day and every experience, but please know that thanks to YOU ​​there are better days ahead. Be safe and please always know that we are there for you as coaches and staff if you ever need to talk. You have a great platform as a member of our Nole family. Let’s be different and show our actions in Service, Sacrifice and Respect. “

In his Thursday post, Wilson wrote that he appreciated Norvell for encouraging him to “use his platform and speak for what I and my teammates believe in.”

“Yesterday I took a position that was not just for me or FSU football. Not even for athletes in general. It’s for Big George Floyd. Black people in general for our oppression that we’ve been going through for over 400 years, “Wilson said in the video. “I want to shout Colin Kaepernick because he’s really the first athlete I’ve ever seen to really stand up for something he believed in.”

Norvell said he was grateful for the opportunity to speak with the team.

“We will continue to communicate and work together to be part of the solution, making our world a better place for ALL,” said Norvell.