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LSU head coach Paul Mainieri on the field during practice on media day, Friday, January 24, 2020, at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Friday afternoon, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri issued his first public statement since the death of George Floyd, joining a handful of LSU coaches who have condemned racism and social injustice in the United States.

In a post on the LSU baseball Twitter account, Mainieri said everyone should "gain a better understanding of what African-Americans have to deal with in our country each day."

"Sadly, our society is weakened by prejudice and suffers from a lack of empathy," Mainieri said. "It is my hope that everyone in our nation will engage in self-reflection, examine their feelings and align with the concepts that all men and women are created equal."

Mainieri said he has listened, read and talked to the black members of LSU's baseball team since Floyd died during an arrest last week in Minneapolis. Police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck while Floyd, handcuffed, pleaded for air. Mainieri called it a "horrific murder."

Members of the LSU athletic department, including football coach Ed Orgeron, athletic director Scott Woodward and the women's basketball team, have spoken throughout the week. Sophomore pitcher Jaden Hill said on Twitter: "Speak louder, listen harder, and try to understand others. We need change!"

Here is Mainieri's entire statement:

"The horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as other social injustices, should give us all a desire to gain a better understanding of what African-Americans have to deal with in our country each day. I've listened, read, and I've talked directly with each of the African-American student-athletes on our baseball team. Those young men have given me great insight into the issue of race, the hurt it can cause, and how it impacts their lives.

"Sadly, our society is weakened by prejudice and suffers from a lack of empathy. It is my hope that everyone in our nation will engage in self-reflection, examine their feelings and align with the concepts that all men and women are created equal, and as Dr. King said, that people 'will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.'

"I've had the honor of coaching young men of all races and ethnicities, and the opportunity to appreciate the diverse backgrounds and interests of the student-athletes has enriched my life. I realize the importance of being an ally for African-Americans.

"As a leader and mentor, I pledge to continually promote an environment of unity, compassion and understanding."


Email Wilson Alexander at walexander@theadvocate.com