Football

The Gators celebrating a home win against Vanderbilt last season. In Saturday's opening kickoff, the Gators and Rebels displayed their support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, both Florida and Ole Miss took a knee on the opening kickoff of Saturday’s game, resulting in a delay of game penalty by UF. The penalty was then declined by Ole Miss.

The Gators and the Rebels have been vocal about their efforts to stand together in the fight for social equality. Several Florida athletic teams, including men’s basketball, volleyball and football, attended a BLM march Aug. 28 in Gainesville. Ole Miss also marched in a protest that day.

Both teams released a joint statement regarding the display.

"As members of the Florida and Ole Miss football teams, we recognize the impact of our personal platforms and are choosing to amplify the issues that directly impact us," the statement said. "Together we have chosen to take the opening series of today’s competition to acknowledge the unrest in our country surrounding the treatment of African Americans. We will continue to support social justice efforts as members of the Southeastern Conference and members of our respective communities."

Rebels linebacker MoMo Sanogo told media that Ole Miss was thinking about reaching out to Florida to orchestrate a demonstration in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. This display of unity comes after a controversial legal decision regarding Breonna Taylor’s death.

The two officers involved in the shooting of Taylor faced a grand jury Wednesday but were not charged for murder. Only one officer involved in the incident was charged for “firing his gun recklessly,” according to the New York Times. His bond was posted at $15,000. 

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, was shot six times in her apartment in March by officers carrying out a search warrant. Since the resurgence of the BLM movement in May, following the death of George Floyd, Taylor’s name and likeness have been used by protestors as a prominent symbol of unwarranted police brutality.

This article has been updated to reflect new information.

Contact Payton Titus at [email protected] and follow her on twitter @petitus25.

Payton Titus is a sports writer covering softball this season. She has also written for Swimming World Magazine, Inside the Gators and Chomp Talk.