Student 1: “I think you and I have had a pretty good relationship over the past 4 years and I just wanted to make Mayes aware of a situation that was pretty personal that happened yesterday. I was at the football practice filming … and [one of the players] came over to talk to one of the trainers and … he said you need to stay here and listen to this… I stayed there and listened and he went on to tell them that they’re not allowed to kneel for the flag during anthem. And that’ we’ve been standing for 125 years and we need to continue standing and if you want to kneel you can be in the field house. You shouldn’t kneel right here because that’s politics. Don’t bring politics into football because Friday night football isn’t about politics. He’s like, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.” [Player] said “You’re restricting our first amendment rights by telling us that we can’t kneel. By putting us in the field house, you’re locking up my people, which we’ve been locked up long enough. So –“
1:04 Mayes: “That’s ridiculous to say that. That’s a little extreme don’t you think?” “First amendment rights I’m with you on but the rest of it. Come on now.”
Student: Well, [trainer] may not have locked up slaves personally, but …
Mayes: “Let’s really have a good relationship here, okay? … Come on now, seriously? Come on now, seriously? Let’s be straight here, ok?” Listen to the guy. Bring it to me. Let’s have this relationship you talked about. I’m asking you. Let’s talk.”
Student: “I can see where she’s coming from.”
Bring it to me. I’ll take care of it. Let’s talk.
2:00 “I wouldn’t have said it but you gotta think in that moment you’re feeling quite oppressed. Myself, I was feeling pretty oppressed and he wasn’t talking directly to me because I’m not part of the team. And so I can understand the anguish and hurt.”
Mayes: “Why are you feeling oppressed?”
Student: “Because you’re telling us we can’t do something that we are given the right to do.
“You’re not kneeling for politics, you’re kneeling for basic human rights. He told us we can voice our politi… (interrupted)”
“No but you’re part of the community.” (Interrupted.)
2:40 “So here’s my question. Why did they choose all of the sudden the Male game? When they could have chosen a game a couple of weeks ago.” You see what I’m saying. You get what I’m getting at? It’s selectively being done, where there’s a stage.”
“Trainers have been kneeling throughout the season. And not receiving backlash for it.”
Mayes: “No one ever said a word to me about it. That’s the first I’ve heard of it. And my door’s wide open.”
Student: “I’m just bringing it to you because it personally made me uncomfortable. The point is, my first amendment rights have been infringed on.
Mayes: That’s all it should be. And I’ll take care of it. To go into this someone being locked up . To go into this other explanation, I mean, I’m like ok. Your point’s well taken. … You ever see that movie Jerry McGuire movie? One of those chick flick things. Where she comes walking in, “You had me at hello.” You had me at First Amendment.”
“What I don’t like is sensationalism. What I don’t like is people doing this for attention, and what I mean by that is selectively. If you’re gonna be this way if you’re going to kneel then kneel the whole time. Okay? Don’t just pick and choose because it’s a different stage. That’s what I have a problem with…You see what I’m getting at? I respect that, I’ll respect that to the hilt.”
I know you don’t have to be all freaked out. I’m not freaked out. You want to have a dialogue. What I don’t like about it. I want you to understand my scope in thinking about this.
What I don’t like about this. There are some people where this is a sincere gesture, some jumping on it because it’s the cool thing to do. That I don’t like.
I don’t think anyone is doing this because it’s the cool thing to do.
“That’s your perspective.” “What I don’t like is people who jump on the bandwagon.”
Dean Walker lost his daughter. did it because that’s what everyone else was doing. It’s not sincere.
I don’t have a problem with anyone that’s sincere. I have a problem with people that do it just for attention.”
How do you determine?
I can understand where she was coming from in the moment.
What I have a problem is, if that’s really your belief, I respect that. What I don’t like is when it’s the cool thing to do. You have been a former player. He’s also got a team standpoint. We all walk out together. We all come in together. I’m sure that’s part of it. But I’ll address it with him. But I get offended when someone decides to suddenly go on this tirade. My people have been locked up blah blah blah.
“Why do you think I support the BSU? Why do you think I do all this equity diversity? I’m not down with this all that stuff. But at the same time, let’s put it into proper context for what it’s for. I just had this conversation with the principal at [John Marshall… His office is run inefficiently, so when we do events for equity and diversity, they come up screwed up.” It’s the way you gotta present it. You gotta be careful here, that in our push to bring these things to light. Instead of really saying
“You can cry wolf so much that people stop listening and away from the real point here. You want people to take you seriously. I’m not saying [student] is not sincere. That’s just a bunch of kids. You gotta be careful because it’s going to look like a bunch of sensationalism. It’s not about
That’s what I’m saying about John Marshall’s office. His office has screwed things up so much. What do you do when your parents tell you something you don’t want to hear. They screwed up so many events that now the real message of equity and diversity is getting a sidebar like, ok, this is going to be screwed up.” Guess what, they focus on that instead of the issue.
Last spring I started this thing.
The point was for us to start a conversation.
“Is there another way besides kneeling that you could do this…that convo should have happened.”
“You’d have to be just an idiot not to know about the oppression and all that kinds of stuff but I hate to say so, there’s some people that take that card and they play it to the [hilt?].” Your parents have worked very hard to put you in a position.
Let’s take my story. I could sit around and say all day. My parents divorced when I was in sixth grade.
I think that’s pretty different.
How is that different? How is discrimination accepted
Oppression of black people to a greater degree.
I know there is discrimination in religion. I am aware of this. I think it’s a little worse for black people.
I could be wrong, but I don’t remember a time when we imprisoned protestants. Redlining. I don’t remember a time when protestants had the leader assassinated. I personally feel that there a higher degree of discrimination
The conversation veered toward comparisons between the treatment of blacks and other minority groups. When one of the students said blacks have received faced greater discrimination than Protestants, Mayes responded by saying, “And that’s coming through your filter, and I don’t agree with you,” I see it across the board. But when you look at it through one set of lenses, But I look at discrimination under a larger situation. I’ve got native American in My people My people MY People, Way before slavery, dear. I could go but I choose a different route.
To sit there and say
You’re sadly mistaken. Sadly mistaken.
Your last statement was.
I said it’s to a greater degree.
So from my perspective. I could raise Cain about what happened to my people way back when. You’re looking at it from your perspective.
Black people are not the only people.
We haven’t even touched on the whole Jewish nation. Their people were put down into troughs and slaughtered.
This is my whole issue with the whole equity thing.
“Listen, I’ve been discriminated against because I’m white. That ain’t right,” you follow me? Listen. I’ve lost 4 jobs because I’m white. But that door swings both ways.
The students and Mayes began comparing discrimination against blacks to the discrimination Protestants have faced over history. One of the students said that discrimination against blacks was worse.
“I totally disagree with you on that.”
14:12 – interrupted, dr. marshall on the phone
“MLK is more palatable than Malcom x”
“I hate fake and phony people.” referring to equity office.
“I don’t want us to set up factions…I think we’ve got to be really careful here. I guess my argument is I want the discussion to go on and I don’t want people coming in with fists clenched…”
“I don’t want it to be a black and white issue. I want it to be a community issue. There’s people within our family who have feelings, so let’s address those feelings.”
BLM – where is it now?
“This is not a white and black thing… this is about treating people properly, period…if I’m a black person and I’m looking at it, make sure that you’re being fair to that said, because I’m black I deserve this…”
“I get crap here sometimes, ‘you need to hire more African-American teachers.’ I’d love to, but would you want me to hire an African-American teacher because their African-American or because they’re the best teacher?”
Mayes goes on to talk about Alabama…says he knows discrimination is real because he’s seen it.
Students ask for diversity and equity training, formal round table discussion with coaches, about students first amendment rights.
Pollio sent out memo – giving district’s position, said he sent it out to staff and would re-send.
Said it was the first time it was brought to him.
(Sorry for any typos or incomplete transcript. Will be updated as time allows. Volunteers appreciated.)