Florida State coach Norvell apologizes after DT Wilson called him out

Florida State football coach Mike Norvell acknowledged Thursday he misspoke after he was accused of lying by one of his players.

Late Wednesday night, senior defensive tackle Wilson said Norvell lied about his communication with the team in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, saying that the team was “outraged” and would “not be working out until further notice” because Norvell said he had talked to “every” player about Floyd.

After a team meeting to clear the air and establish priorities moving forward, Norvell issued a statement Thursday afternoon.

“I’m proud of Marvin for utilizing his platform to express his reaction to my comments in an earlier interview,” Norvell said. “Last Saturday evening, I sent a text to each player individually to present an opportunity for open communication with me. Many members of our team chose to respond and have more in-depth conversations about issues and feelings. Marvin is right. It was a mistake to use the word ‘every’ particularly at this time, words are important, and I’m sorry.”

In the wake of Floyd’s death, which has sparked race-related protests nationwide, Norvell told The Athletic that he spoke individually with every player on the Seminoles roster. But Wilson said Wednesday night it never happened.

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

After Thursday’s meeting, Wilson detailed three priorities that were agreed upon: having every player register to vote, holding fundraisers to help black students attend college and also raise funds for kids in Tallahassee, especially those battling poverty.

“Took a stand we got what we wanted & we are moving forward!!!” Wilson wrote in his Instagram post. “I appreciate @coachnorvell for encouraging me to use my platform and speak for what me and teammates believe in. Be the change that you need when you was growing up and help build black communities up and take back what is ours.”

In Wilson’s video, he also praised former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for protesting police brutality and offered a message to the black community. Floyd was black, and three of the four former officers charged in his death are white, with the other of Asian descent.

“You are black, and you should be proud of that,” Wilson said. “You stand for something and you mean something. You have a story to tell and a story that needs to be heard no matter what. You are special.”

Redshirt freshman linebacker Kevon Glenn supported Norvell in a tweet later Thursday, writing, “We love our coach and we are together as a team. FSU football team and coaching staff is fine and working. See y’all in the fall.”

In a statement earlier this week to The Athletic, Norvell said he discussed racial injustice and inequality with his players, one on one.

“We’ve had a lot of open communication with our team, our players and our coaches. I went back and forth individually with every player this weekend. And that was something that was important to me because this is a heartbreaking time in our country,” Norvell said.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to help make a difference,” his lengthy statement concluded. “That’s something that we definitely have talked about in a big-picture team approach, but also, more specifically, the individual and group conversations. We’re trying to meet our guys at their need and be able to share some of the emotions that we’re all going through.”

Florida State started voluntary workouts on Monday, as permitted by the NCAA.

Wilson, a 6-foot-5 defensive tackle from Houston, was a team captain in 2019. He played nine games before suffering a season-ending hand injury and was named first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference.

Florida State hired Norvell as its football coach on Dec. 8, 2019. The 38-year-old spent the previous four seasons as the head coach at Memphis, compiling a 38-15 record.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)