“Chip Kelly’s statement on George Floyd divides his former players”
June 5, 2020 | 10:11am
The UCLA head coach posted a message on Twitter through the school’s account on Monday, saying “The past few days have been very difficult. It’s hard to see our community — and humanity — so deeply hurting.”
He went on to use a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “‘It is not enough for people to be angry,’ Dr. King said in 1968. “The supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.’’’
Kelly finished with, “We must unite, it is our only hope, and the first steps must be taken now.”
Stephen Johnson III, a wide receiver who played for Kelly in 2018 and left the program with a year remaining of eligibility, was not impressed by the vagueness of the statement.
“What does this mean?” Johnson wrote in reply to the message.
Ex-UCLA linebacker, Breland Brandt, who was last played in 2017 due to concussions, responded to Johnson’s tweet and said Kelly “dismantled an entire class of athletes (majority black) and thought it’d be a good idea to copy and paste some sympathy.”
“Exactly. Let’s let the truth be known [that] he threw away classes of black [athletes] careers and did not care.”
And Bolu Olorunfunmi, a running back whose UCLA career also ended due to concussions in 2018, went after Kelly, as well, for using a quotation from King rather than writing something himself.
“But what are YOU going to do???,”Olorunfunmi wrote. “How is UCLA gonna be different and take that first step you are talking about?? Can’t ride the quotes of MLK forever. I [want to] hear YOUR true take.”
Olorunfunmi added Kelly wasn’t alone: “All these NCAA programs with white men at the face of it have the lives of so many minority young men behind it need to do MORE! I’m sorry MLK tweets don’t cut it! In a time like this those young men look for guidance! I know I never got it. That’s step 1: CARE…REAL CARE.”
But not all of Kelly’s old players were upset with his take.
Elvis Akpla played for Kelly at Oregon and the former wide receiver replied to a story in the Los Angeles Times defending his one-time coach.
“I’m not going to hear this toxic garbage. Chip has done so much for so many players.”
Former Oregon linebacker Tyson Coleman noted the players who criticized Kelly did not have success playing for him.
“Do not let these scrubs try and defame this man. I have seen what happens when guys don’t get the playing time they think they deserve. Chip wants to WIN over ANYTHING… I’m not saying he’s the best role model etc but I’d look into this one.”
Kelly has been a polarizing figure for much of his career, especially after leaving Oregon for the NFL.
Earlier this week, DeSean Jackson told NBC Sports he signed with the Redskins in 2014 after being released by Kelly and the Eagles in part because he wanted to stay in the NFC East so he would face Kelly more often.
“I just wanted to go play against y’all twice a year,’’ Jackson said. “I’m staying in the division because I want them to see me twice a year.”