Glass releases statement on Floyd killing

Indiana athletic director Fred Glass released a 574-word statement on the killing of George Floyd on Monday, saying his department stands with its student-athletes in “collective devastation and outrage.”

“Ever since I first saw the video of George Floyd’s murder, my heart has been hurting in a way I can’t remember it ever hurting, even though this is only the latest of too many examples of the awful consequence of racism so endemic in our society,” Glass said in his statement. “Still, I know my pain is only a shadow of that being experienced by people of color because as a white person, I can never truly understand the depth of their pain.”

Glass, along with incoming AD Scott Dolson, and associate athletic director Mattie White, held a Zoom meeting with the Athletic Director’s Council on Diversity and Inclusivity on Sunday.

Glass highlighted one comment made by a black female student.

“Mr. Glass, this is personal because somebody died because he looked like me.”

Glass continued, “Our students are hurting. All of them. They are our family, and we love them. We are proud to be a Department that has always put the holistic care and support of our students first which is all the more important in tough times.”

In the statement, Glass assured student-athletes that they have a right to free speech and peaceful protests without fear of disciplinary action and “university interference.” He said to only offer “thoughts and prayers” to the Floyd family would be “condemning ourselves to continuing to endure these kinds of atrocities, and George Floyd’s death will have been in vain.”

“While almost any action seems insufficient given the overwhelming challenge that racism poses to all of us, that can’t deter us into inaction,” Glass added. “We need to be the change we want to see in the world.”

The statement from Glass comes on the heels of other statements from IU coaches, namely football’s Tom Allen, volleyball’s Steve Aird, and women’s basketball’s Teri Moren. Multiple IU athletes have also been actively expressing their feelings on social media.

Also on Monday, the Big Ten Conference announced the formation of an Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition comprised of student-athletes, coaches, ADs, and university leaders.

“I have already received powerful notes of support and interest in joining this coalition and look forward to partnering with the existing diversity councils on our various campuses,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in an open letter. “It is critical that our student-athletes possess their rights to free speech, their rights to peaceful protest and we will work to empower them in creating meaningful change.”

Warren also said his family’s foundation would be donating $100,000 to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law in Washington D.C.

Glass said his Zoom discussion Sunday was “very powerful and valuable” and he will co-host another Zoom conversation this week with student-athletes that wish to discuss their experiences and perspectives on Floyd’s death and what it means to them, as well as “how we should move forward as individuals and as part of IU Athletics.” There will also be a similar conversation held between head coaches and interested IU athletics staff.

Glass added that the department’s Office of Counseling and Sport Psychology will reach out to all coaches and athletes about mental health services “tailored to address the trauma we know is being generated by George Floyd’s death and its aftermath.”

“There are no easy or simple ways to fight racism or secure racial justice and equality, but that can’t be a reason not to try,” Glass concluded. “I am confident that by sharing with each other and working together we can make a meaningful difference in IU Athletics and beyond.”