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FSU’s Mike Norvell apologizes after players say he lied about meeting with them

Team says it is moving forward after Thursday meeting

Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell
Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Across the sports world, coaches and athletes have offered their opinions on the unrest in the country in the wake of the three highly visible deaths of African Americans.

Florida State football coach Mike Norvell found himself in the middle of a difficult situation on Thursday when an interview that he conducted with The Athletic left players feeling misled. Over a tense few hours, Norvell and Florida State players and administration held meetings and were able to work through things and, as players said, move forward.

In an interview with The Athletic in response to protests and unrest due to events involving Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Norvell said he "had a lot of open communication" with his players and "went back and forth individually with every player this weekend."

Seminoles defensive tackle Marvin Wilson took issue with that statement, saying that Norvell didn’t have one-on-one conversations with players. He tweeted out on Wednesday night that Norvell’s words were not true.

"We got a generated text that was sent to everybody. There was no one on one talk between us and coach," Wilson tweeted. "This is a lie and me and my teammates as a whole are outraged and we will not be working out until further notice."

Several other Florida State players seemingly tweeted in reaction to Wilson’s statement.

After the flurry of tweets Thursday morning, Norvell held a closed team meeting with players and staff. FSU athletic director David Coburn told the board of trustees during a call today that he believed progress was made on the issue and that they are moving on.

Norvell released a statement Thursday afternoon and said that his words were important and clarified what happened.

“Marvin is right. It was a mistake to use the word “every,” Norvell said. “Particularly at this time, words are important, and I’m sorry. Once again, I am grateful for the opportunity that I was given to speak to our team more in-depth as a result of Marvin being willing to express his feelings. We will continue to communicate and work together to be part of the solution making our world a better place for ALL.”

Following today’s meeting, Wilson turned back to social media to share how the Seminoles plan to effect change moving forward.

“Took A stand we got what we wanted & we are moving forward. I appreciate @Coach_Norvell for encouraging me to use my platform and speak for what me and my teammates believe In. Be the change that you needed when you was growing up.”


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