One of the most powerful voices to make himself heard in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd while Floyd was in the custody of the Minneapolis police was Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. Flores, who is black, released a statement that in part decried the lack of "OUTRAGE from people of influence" regarding the killings of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, who were African Americans, and it resonated not just in league circles but across the social platforms it was posted to. Current players, former players and those who never were under the watchful eye of Flores reposted and/or responded to the coach's words. It also seemed to trigger others in similar positions across a variety of leagues to share their thoughts.
This came as no surprise to one of the Patriots' captains, Devin McCourty, who played under Flores during Flores' time as an assistant in New England. Talking with his brother Jason on their Double Coverage podcast, Devin had nothing but praise for the man he used to call not just coach but friend.
"He holds a position ... a position that as players, as people who watch football know: We need more black coaches, we need more black GMs, we need more people in that position," said McCourty. "So, to see him be outspoken -- and knowing him personally, he's always been like that -- to me was great to see.
"It's about leading men. It's about men seeing the important things. We don't just come to play football. We're around each other, we mentor each other, we try to pour into each other. So, to see him go out there and make it public and say how he felt I thought was really good."
Devin and Jason also delved into the protesting and rioting that have followed Floyd's death. Jason's belief is that it's been difficult for some people to find ways and the proper outlet to express their emotions during this time.
"As you watch what's gone on the last few days, the rioting and looting, it's a form of communication when you don't know how else to communicate," Jason said. "When you ask the question, and we were talking about it earlier today (Sunday), are they good, are they bad? It's been a back-and-forth dialogue in some of our group chats with some of our closest friends, and for me, I wouldn't find myself out rioting and looting, I think a peaceful protest is awesome. But at the same (time), I can't sit here in the comfort of my house and tell somebody who firmly believes that the rioting and looting is going to change (anything). I can't tell them that they're wrong, because I cannot direct in a manner that if you do A, B and C, we're going to get the answer we want."
Devin agreed: "To see the rage from people, to see anger, just high emotions like sadness, heartbreak -- that's what you expect because you don't know what's next. So, just to see those frustrations play out, we hope that you can post something to social media, talk to somebody that can be of some direction, but, it's hard to do that when you're lost and you have words you can't describe. Like you said, it's been tough to watch some of the violence go on but, 2020 has kind of brought that in and it's just been, what's next."
The two brothers have been lauded for their work in the community and have spearheaded a number of efforts for criminal justice reform for juveniles and also for education reform in Massachusetts.
Follow Mike Giardi on Twitter @MikeGiardi.