SEC commissioner Greg Sankey issues statement on racial inequality: ‘Change we lead must be real’

Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey issued his first public statement since George Floyd’s death, saying Tuesday the conference wants to “influence real and positive change” toward racial inequality.

Coaches, players and administrators across the SEC have denounced racism and police brutality after Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody last week in Minneapolis. An officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while Floyd pleaded for air.

The SEC has shared a collection of its members’ statements on social media, including one from LSU and another from LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Vargas.

“Each voice reminded us of the many ways we fall short in our quest for racial equality, respect and justice,” Sankey said.

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The SEC convened its student-athlete leadership councils Tuesday, Sankey said, to engage in the conference’s discussions about what actions it will take to help reach a “more just and equitable society.”

Here is Sankey’s statement, in full:

“Throughout the last few days, we used our social platforms to share voices from across our Conference.

Each voice expressed sorrow, sadness, hurt and anger, and each voice reminded us of the many ways we fall short in our quest for racial equality, respect and justice.

By listening, asking and seeking, we will begin to make a difference. But we must reach beyond our comfortable places and engage the uncomfortable reality.

Today, we build on those voices and take a vital next step in our shared journey by convening our SEC Student-Athlete Leadership Councils in these critical discussions. Today’s youth are our leaders and change agents of tomorrow.

Through this dialogue, we expect to gain a better understanding of their current reality and visions for a more just and equitable society. Their input along with guidance of campus leaders will help us determine what actions we as a Conference will take next to influence real and positive change.

The change we lead must be real and must realize that all are created equal, which in our case must echo across our stadiums, our arenas, our campuses, our communities, our states and our nation.”

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