Capel, Pitt aim to be ‘catalyst of change’


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Jeff Capel (center, blue suit) coaches his Pitt Panthers in the 2019-20 season. – MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Players from the Pitt men's basketball team Tuesday morning released a joint statement, saying they are committed to following the lead of coach Jeff Capel in seeking equality and justice following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The statement is one of several released via Twitter by teams and coaches in the Pitt athletic department.

"We came to the University of Pittsburgh to pursue an education, to become better basketball players and hopefully do well enough to seek a professional career playing the game we love," the statement reads. "The past year has taught us that life can change overnight. The recent and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor make it clear that we have a larger purpose. We have the opportunity to be the voice of our generation and use our platform to be a catalyst of change."

Capel has been an active voice for equality on Twitter, particularly since the Floyd killing. He was quick to support his players.

Pitt wrestling coach Keith Gavin also released a statement Tuesday morning.

"I certainly don't have all the answers and I can't imagine what it must feel like to be treated unjustly because of the color of my skin. But I do know that in order to create any real and last change, it's going to take a commitment from all of us to continually stand up against this inequality and injustice," part of Gavin's statement read.

Just after noon, all Pitt athletic teams showed support for the #BlackOutTuesday movement on social media, which is a way of expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests across the country. Pitt football's Twitter account also retweeted posts from every team.

Statements have been released by Pitt's women's basketball, swimming and diving, men's soccer, women's soccer, gymnastics and volleyball teams. Track and field/cross country coach Alonzo Webb, women's soccer coach Randy Waldrum, lacrosse coach Emily Boissonneault and gymnastics coach Samantha Snider released individual statements, and women's basketball coach Lance White backed his team's statement.

Pat Narduzzi has not released a statement though he did retweet one by Pitt chancellor Patrick Gallagher on Tuesday afternoon. Assistant head coach/defensive line coach Charlie Partridge took to Twitter about 2 p.m., saying:

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