The Florida State football team met with coach Mike Norvell on Thursday after a star player accused the coach of lying about personally connecting with each player to discuss the police killing of George Floyd and ensuing protests against racial injustice.
Florida State athletic director David Coburn was making a scheduled appearance on a call with the school’s Board of Trustees later Thursday when he spoke about the online meeting involving the Seminoles players and Norvell, who has been on the job for about six months.
“I want to tell you that coach just finished a closed team meeting with the football team,” Coburn told the board. “I’m told the dialogue was open and very candid and that it went well. I believe we are moving on there.
“I also want to tell you about a Zoom conversation I had last night with about 75 student-athletes to discuss Mr. Floyd’s death and other similar incidents here in Tallahassee and across the country. It was interesting, it was educational and emotional.”
Norvell, 38, was hired away from Memphis in December to replace Willie Taggart, who had been fired after less than two full seasons as Seminoles coach.
The Athletic reported on Tuesday that Norvell, who is white, said: ” I went back and forth individually with every player this weekend,” when asked what he was doing to connect with players after the death of Floyd, a black handcuffed man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police, which sparked nationwide protests.
Late Wednesday night, star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson said on Twitter that he and his teammates were “outraged” by Norvell’s characterization, calling it a “lie” because all they had gotten was a “generated text that was sent to everyone.”
Wilson added that he and his teammates would not be working out until further notice.
Norvell did not respond immediately to a text message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
On Thursday, some support for Norvell was turning up on social media from Florida State players.
Linebacker Kevon Glenn tweeted: “We love our coach and we are together as a team.”
AP freelance writer Bob Ferrante in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report. Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and https://appodcasts.com/category/ap-top-25-college-football/