NORMAN, Okla. — Justin Broiles has faith that a solution exists to America’s race problems.
It’s not going to happen overnight, the Oklahoma defensive back admitted, but protests like Saturday’s are a start.
The next step is actively working toward change.
Broiles spoke in front of a large crowd that peacefully marched from Norman High to the north oval on the OU campus. Part of his message was it can “be sweet on the other side” with the right solutions.
He hopes people perform tangible work, like voting, when protests stop.
“People come, get motivated and leave and they’re like, ‘Oh, man. That was really beautiful.’ No, man. There’s a follow-up behind this,” Broiles told The Norman Transcript. “It’s something we’re going to have to continually say. This is a lifestyle; I didn’t realize that. This is a real lifestyle. This isn’t a day or two thing. If you want change, it’s gotta be a lifestyle. The change ain’t gonna come in three days just because we’re burning down buildings and in the streets protesting.
“No, this is going to take time and consistent energy and effort.”
During a demonstration within the protest, a speaker encouraged white people there to find a black person and stand by them, then exchange phone numbers. Broiles swapped numbers with three people.
“It’s the power of communication and connections,” Broiles said. “A lot of people have a lot of good ideas going on. They just need a platform and help getting it at.”
The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer sparked protests across the country and initiated an anti-racism movement. The focus began acutely with police reform, but the conversation has become more broad.
OU athletics was well represented at Saturday’s protest, with athletics director Joe Castiglione there as well as multiple coaches, administrators and athletes.
It’s important to take more action toward fixing systematic problems, Broiles said. Other Oklahoma football players have echoed that sentiment: Redshirt senior defensive back Chanse Sylvie recently published a plan for police reform.
“When I say it’s sweet on the other side, right now it doesn’t look good,” he said. “But the longer we can educate others and impact others, we can inspire people to go vote. We can make the change we want to see happen. We didn’t know how important our voice is until now. It’s kind of like we got stuck with what we’ve got now, but we could’ve stopped it. We’ve seen what happens when we don’t vote. Now we see what happens if we take advantage of our platform and voice and maximize that.”