*Updated to include statement from OPD
The Ole Miss Rebels football team voted to leave practice this morning to march at the Square in Oxford, gathering peacefully at the Confederate statue and City Hall.
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The march was in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin and police brutality.
Head Coach Lane Kiffin also attended the march and protest, headed up by defensive back Ke Daniels. Ole Miss sophomore running back Snoop Conner told Hottytoddy.com that the decision to protest was made Friday morning at practice.
“It came from a leadership group,” Conner said. “We’ve got about 14 people in a leadership group, and we talked about it. We came in this morning to have a team meeting and we voted as a team to unite, and come march and speak up.”
The football players and others chanted “No Peace, No Justice,” “Don’t shoot,” and “Black Lives Matter”, as they walked as a group around the Square.
“It makes me feel good because we’re coming together as a team,” Conner said. “We got black and white coming together. We’re talking and having a voice, trying to make the world better, trying to make a change.”
On Friday afternoon, the Oxford Police Department issued a statement about the protest.
“We have received many calls and questions in regard to the demonstration held by the University of Mississippi student-athletes this morning. This was not a permitted event and law enforcement was not made aware until the event started. As law enforcement officials, our priority is safety and security when demonstrations take place.
Due to our limited resources, manpower, and time limitations we did our best to keep everyone safe while meeting with university officials, coaches and players. Through these conversations, we were able to peacefully relocate everyone out of the street and route the demonstration back to campus. We are continuing to meet and discuss ways to adhering to the permitting process while allowing for peaceful demonstrations.”
Thursday, football players at Mississippi State University also left practice in protest of police brutality.
Staff report. Photos by Victoria Hosey