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USF coaches react

Women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez and other USF coaches react to the protests over the death of George Floyd. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

In the wake of the death of George Floyd, protests have escalated in cities across the country, including Tampa.

On Saturday, 40 businesses throughout the City of Tampa were burglarized, five set on fire, over 45 Tampa police cars were damaged and 41 arrests were made, according to Tampa Police Department Chief Brian Dugan on Sunday morning.

As chaos engulfed Fowler Avenue, where a number of businesses were looted and a Champs Sports store was set on fire just minutes away from campus, USF coaches took to social media.

Football coach Jeff Scott was one of the first to take to social media during the events that transpired Saturday.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” Scott tweeted just after 7 p.m., quoting Martin Luther King Jr.

Men’s assistant basketball coach Tom Herrion tweeted at around 8:30 p.m., weighing in on the escalation of the protests.

“This is not the world I want my son to grow up in. This is not the world I want anyone to live in,” Herrion tweeted. “We all must be better and stand up for one another.”

Not long after, women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez shared his experience with protests growing up as a Cuban-American in Miami. He called for unity during a time of “heartache and struggle.”

“It is with a heavy heart to see what our country is going through at this time,” he tweeted at around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. “We must all stand together and unite and work for change.”

Men’s basketball head coach Brian Gregory tweeted a statement Sunday morning.

“I work in a diverse population. I coach young black men. I work with black men and women. I’m honored when a mother and father of color trust me with their son. But I will never know what life is like for a black person in America,” he tweeted at around 10:45 a.m. “I have never feared for my life when being pulled over by the police. I have never feared for my life when going out for a run.

“There are a lot of questions that I don’t know the answers to, but to remain silent, to remain inactive, or not search for answers is not going to help bring the changes that must occur.”