WATCH: Kirby Smart leads Georgia football march across campus, team pays tribute
ATHENS — Georgia football produced a “Moving with Purpose” video showing Coach Kirby Smart leading the Bulldogs in a march across campus in their black jerseys on Wednesday.
“We can learn from reflecting on the experiences of those who came before us and blazed trails for us,” the moderator said as footage of the players rolled across the screen.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) September 2, 2020
It has been a challenging offseason in many respects. The Georgia student-athletes have been managing a COVID-19 environment filled with protocols, while also dealing with the pain of social injustices around the country.
Georgia junior Jamaree Salyer shared earlier this summer how Smart consults with the team’s leadership group to ensure the Bulldogs have an opportunity to share their concerns and voice opinions.
Smart said following last Saturday’s scrimmage that he had spoken with his team, and the players had outlined a plan for actions.
“They’ve come up with all kinds of ideas about what we think we can do to take action, because we’re big on action, I’m big on action,” Smart said. “Our guys came up with an action list of items— probably 17, 18 things — and we’re just taking them on one-by-one.
“We’re going to take them on and try to be very intentional about what we do.”
The players stood before the Holmes-Hunter Academic building to celebrate Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes, the first African-American Male to attend UGA in January of 1961.
Holmes son, Hamilton Jr., spoke to the players, telling them “UGA is a much better place today, as we know, we have a diverse student body, diverse professors and staff, and buildings on campus named after African-Americans, including this building.”
The players stood shoulder to shoulder, fists raised in solidarity as Holmes’ son delivered a stirring message.
“I challenge each of you today to make a plan, to make your own history here in Athens, your hometowns or wherever you may end up after graduating from UGA,” Holmes said.
“But please do something special with your life, don’t take it for granted. Make a difference in the lives of others, and let’s make this world a better place together.”
Smart said it’s important everyone make the time to listen — really listen – to the messages.
“I don’t think people in the country realize how it affects each young man differently,” Smart said. “When you show empathy, and you listen, you hear about their experiences.
“ It’s not all about just what [these young men] see on TV. That certainly is what sparks it, but it’s the personal experiences each one of them has had in their family or in their community.”