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Sean Miller: Program seeks talks with players about race issues

Arizona basketball head coach Sean Miller said the program and university seek to support student-athletes when it comes to race-related matters.

In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Miller was asked about the nationwide call for racial justice and said the death of George Floyd and the events that followed aren’t the starting point of a conversation about race in his program.

“I’m confident in saying this is this latest event is kind of like a moment of reckoning for all of us to some degree, but we talk to our players all the time about these issues,” Miller said. “As you know, this one incident didn’t spur emotions inside of [our players]. They’ve had these emotions as far back as when they were in grade school through examples in their own life, things that have happened in their own neighborhood or with their own family members or things that they have witnessed on television or they have read about their whole life.

“So I think the first part is whether it be individually, whether it be a group setting, talking about these types of issues throughout the school year and the summer and really incorporating our university to help us with these types of things, that’s ongoing. That’s all the time. That’s even before this unfortunate situation occurred.

“Now that it has occurred, I think we have a meeting scheduled — again, there’s so many moving parts — there’s some group of our team that we’re allowed to be on a zoom call together. There’s others that aren’t allowed to be on that call. … So we’ve reached out individually. Sometimes it’s a conversation on a phone. As this week approaches, we have several zoom calls, and that will be a very, very strong topic at the beginning of each conversation.”

Miller, through the team’s social media, put out a statement Monday that Floyd’s death exposes racism in society and called on people to respect each other at all times.

“Obviously it’s the top of the list right now,” Miller said of talking to players about these issues. “I don’t know if there is a list when something like this happens and watching our country, how it’s affected everybody in such an emotional way. I think it’s what we’re thinking a lot about with our team and working together to help them as best we can.”