Tim Miles held his weekly press conference today around 1:30 pm to address the upcoming Rutgers game AND his team’s unifying message of “Hate Never Wins” that was on display last night on Twitter.
Miles brought Evan Taylor and Glynn Watson along with him so that they could explain the team’s message, which is in response to recent news that a white nationalist supporter is currently a student at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
Taylor explained that the team felt like they needed to use their platform to send a message to “spread love”. The team entertained several ideas, including a boycott of the Rutgers game, although Taylor appeared to downplay the boycott as a serious contender regarding the approach the players will take. Taylor further mentioned he hoped that all other Husker athletes and students get behind the team in support of their message.
Miles stated that the team stands against racism, prejudice and hate speech. He stated that other “things” are coming, such as a t-shirts, announcements by individual players, and potential events. Miles talked about how proud he was that his team decided to take a stand when they could have just as well ignored the issue, that it showed that they cared about others rather than only caring about themselves. He said he “got goosebumps” thinking about how adamant his team was about making a statement.
Watson stated that he just wanted to feel safe on campus, and that the team felt their status could help others who were not in as good a position as the basketball team. Both Watson and Taylor felt that their head basketball coach and the Nebraska administration “has their back.” Miles had attended a student rally Wednesday. The team chose not to go. Miles recorded the rally so that they could see it.
Miles pointed out that he’s never experienced racism. He related that his daughter had seen the Daniel Kleve video, sent it to him, then called him and asked him what’s going on at campus because she is thinking of attending UNL next year.
“It made me so disappointed and sad for our guys.”
Miles was asked about those people who would tell them to “stick to sports”. He answered that “there are a lot of things on the internet” in reference to the fact that you can always find someone or something negative.
Miles talked about the upcoming game with Rutgers. He talked about the need for his players in maintaining a balance between spending time on social media and energy on “other things”, including staying focused on the game against Rutgers versus worrying about the NCAA tournament. Miles stated his job was to somewhat insulate them.
Miles pointed out that Rutgers is not to be taken lightly as “Rutgers has defended us better than nearly anyone has” - “made us turn the ball over late in the game” - and that his team didn’t play well in transition.
He pointed out that Rutgers nearly beat Purdue, the top team in the conference.
Personal impression of the press conference:
Evan Taylor is an articulate young man. He’s not a starter, but it’s pretty clear he has a strong role, a strong voice, and is a team leader and a very mature young man. Someone asked Taylor, “What does ‘Hate Never Wins’ mean to you?”
I thought it was a stupid question.
Watson’s answer, which I stupidly did not record word for word, proved me wrong. It was along the lines of staying positive and that their motto was to emphasize love between all of us.
I should note that in this day and age, it can be scary for any athlete to take a stand, even over something as slam dunk as “actually, racism and violence are bad.” People don’t hold back, especially on social media, and it’s easy to get dragged down into that mess unless you have the maturity to stay focused. Then there are the comments from people who are nothing more than trolls, and then there are the unhinged.
This isn’t good timing for Nebraska. The team is playing great. They might make the NCAA tournament after being picked 13th preseason in their conference. This could serve as a big distraction, but Tim Miles and his team decided that their message is bigger than sports.
You want a program that develops maturity and leadership in young people, don’t you?
This is how you do it.