Cuonzo Martin has a lot to say, and I am listening intently
To quote my fine colleague, Deputy Manager Josh, over the last few days, Missouri athletes, coaches and administrators have been speaking out on the ongoing civil unrest in America, specifically as it relates to the deaths of black men like Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and countless others. We’ve covered this in several morning posts now, and will continue to do so for the time being as this is just not the time for silence.
Please note— This is a much more somber links post than what you all are used to seeing from me, but this is serious, and I am really struggling with all of this (as I am sure are many of you). I’m exhausted physically and emotionally, and just really, really angry. I can only imagine how hard this is for black people who deal with this day in and day out. My heart goes out to them and I am doing my best to educate myself and others whenever possible. And as I learn more, the louder my voice becomes.
Late Monday evening, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an in-depth conversation with Mizzou Hoops coach Cuonzo Martin about his promise to fight injustice and ‘weed’ out racism. You can read it here, but here are a few highlights. It’s — as expected — tremendous, and it was honestly hard to narrow down my choices of what to share.
Spoke with Cuonzo Martin about what's happened across the country the last week. He's angry. He's hopeful. He's inspired. "I don’t have all the answers, but I want to be part of the change." Much more to come.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) June 1, 2020
When talking about why it took longer for Martin to make a statement than some others, he said that he went back and forth on how to respond, wanting to make sure it was what he really wanted to convey. As Missouri’s only black head coach and someone who has a well-known backstory, he knew that this statement was important and he HAD to get it right because he (and others) would hold him to it.
His first four words? “It has to stop.”
“You have so many emotions,” Martin told the Post-Dispatch in a phone interview Monday. “You’re exhausted. You’re sitting there like, man, how do you move forward? I say this with respect, but it feels like you’re hopeless.”
As for how he’s addressing recent events with the team, in last Friday’s team Zoom meeting, Martin had Columbia’s Chief of Police, Geoff Jones, join them. That meeting, he said went longer than any other meeting they’ve had. They talked, they vented, and they came to solutions on how they could work together moving forward.
And finally, in regards to recent events happening while COVID has halted sports, Martin had this to say (side note— I had a similar conversation with several people Tuesday about this):
The one thing it’s (COVID-19) done is allowed people to be with their families to reflect and be together. It’s also stopped time. Time has stopped. If this situation (George Floyd’s killing) would have taken place without the pandemic it’d be a blip on the radar. Next week we’d be right back at it. Because there are no sporting events and not much else going on in the world. We can see it now. We see it again tomorrow and there’s nothing to stop it. We see it the next day. We have to see it. We can be on the forefront and create change. We can protest and protest effectively. We can protest to keep moving forward and create change. I don’t know if we can ever get another opportunity like this in our lifetime.
Once again, and I know I say this all the time, but seriously— I could not be more proud and happy that this man is our coach. PLEASE read this article. It is eye-opening and WELL worth your time.
Mizzou’s sports teams and coaches observed #BlackoutTuesday, and as such, didn’t post anything on social media aside from the black square to express their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those protesting the murder of George Floyd. Some also shared information on additional resources within their posts, which was an excellent use of their voices.
Local media members did write a number of stories on various Mizzou Sports-related topics, however. Those, as always, are referenced are below.
Stay safe out there.
Yesterday at Rock M
- Nate wrote a game preview for the ‘Other Columbia’ team, South Carolina.
- COMING UP: Coach Bussen’s Film Room— Part 5, and the final round of the MTL Draft
- PowerMizzou/Rivals ($$): Sean Williams wrote up an analysis on new commit Daylan Carnell. Matt Hamilton analyzed Davion Sistrunk in a new film analysis.
- The Athletic ($$): Peter Baugh identified 12 more football recruiting targets to watch.
- Columbia Missourian: Max Baker wrote about Ennis Rakestraw’s upcoming arrival to campus, as well as his relationship with his mother.
Hoops/Other Mizzou Sports
- PowerMizzou (free): Gabe published the audio to go along with his interview with Cuonzo Martin yesterday.
- Springfield News-Letter: Wyatt Wheeler said he planned to write a piece criticizing Cuonzo Martin for backing away from the Missouri State game, but he just couldn’t do it. (good to hear)
- Cuonzo Martin’s media tour continues, and he will be a guest on Rivs and BK today (Wedneday) at 11am. Tune in for the conversation with Jamie Rivers and Rock M’s own Brandon Kiley on 101 ESPN.
- The Athletic : Marcus Thompson II wrote about one of Cuonzo Martin’s former players at Cal, Jaylen Brown, who has always had academics and activism in his blood. Though not about Mizzou, Gabe DeArmond asked Cuonzo about his thoughts on his former player in his PM interview with him on Monday, so consider him Cuonzo/Mizzou-adjacent.
- Columbia Tribune: Eric Blum wrote about how Mizzou Volleyball is eagerly awaiting voluntary workouts.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: In Hochman’s newest What I Miss Most About Sports series, he said it’s the escape.
- And one last thing I’ll leave you with that hopefully makes you smile: Friend of the (Dive Cuts) Pod, CJ Moore, taught his son to do a layup.
We all need something to make us smile these days. Just taught my son how to make a layup. The joy when he finally gets a skill down is best part of teaching him the game. pic.twitter.com/TuESPqtkhI— CJ Moore (@CJMooreHoops) June 2, 2020
- If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now! (** RockMNation has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though RockMNation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.**)