Jeff Scott, USF players cancel practice, react to Jacob Blake shooting

Coach Jeff Scott (holding microphone) and KJ Sails (right) at the Unity Walk in June. USF players and Scott held a meeting to discuss the Jacob Blake shooting instead of holding practice Thursday. ORACLE PHOTO/NOLAN BROWN

After Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot and left paralyzed by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday, there was considerable unrest in that community.

Kenosha was the site of multiple Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations in the days following the shooting.

Since then, the WNBA, the NBA, MLS, MLB and college football teams, including USF, addressed the shooting. 

Coach Jeff Scott and the players agreed to cancel Thursday’s practice and instead hold a team meeting.

Scott became emotional when describing the discussion with his players.

“These are real-life situations going on,” he told the media, fighting back tears. “I think as a coach, you always take pride in being able to fix things for your players.

“Just like a coach or a dad, you want to fix whatever the problem is, and this one of those situations that as a coach you can’t fix it for your players … part of it is just for your guys to know that you love them that you’re there to support them and that you stand with them.”

The shooting of Blake was three months after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police.

Floyd’s death sparked the conversation of racial injustice, and the shooting of Blake furthered it.

Ever since USF cornerback KJ Sails’ organized his Unity Walk in June, the Bulls have been vocal and open on the issue of injustice in the Black community.

“We decided to use today to have some more team meetings and position meetings and to meet with the Bull Council to let everyone have an opportunity to express themselves and how they feel,” Scott said. “It allows us to listen and learn and we then find out how to use our platform to try and make some positive change in such a sad situation.”

Current players voiced their thoughts on the continued racial injustice.

“This is a ‘condition’ and this condition does not have a cure so it’s time we hit the root,” Sails tweeted Wednesday along with an image of a Malcolm X quote.

“Lord my people need you more than ever please hear us & protect us,” quarterback Noah Johnson tweeted.

Former running back Jordan Cronkrite shared a personal interaction with his grandmother.

“Man, I just had my grandmother come to me face full if tears because she’s so scared for me every time I leave the house,” Cronkrite tweeted.