Miami Hurricanes advocating for season: ’It’s safer to be on campus (than) in the community’
Like many college football players around the country, the Miami Hurricanes are united in the #WeWantToPlay movement. A lot of that is because they feel protected being in their athletic bubble.
“I feel like it’s safer to be here on campus (than) in the community,” senior receiver Mike Harley said. “Because of coach (Manny) Diaz and the staff, we have everything handled. Everything is good and safe here.”
Diaz, who’s entering his second year, has meticulously imposed guideline and protocols to help keep the team safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Diaz often points to the leadership of UM president Julio Frenk, a noted leader in the health field.
Coaches, though, are just as impressed with Diaz’s leadership.
“What a safe environment we are in,” receivers coach Rob Likens said. “What coach Diaz has done to make this environment safe, and the details he thinks about, talks about, we bring to the staff meetings, it blows my mind sometimes of how far (ahead) he thinks.
“It is 100 percent (about) their health, their protection and their safety.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable related to college athletics on Tuesday and reiterated his stance that college football should be played. FSU president John Thrasher echoed the governor’s claim.
“We think we can do it safely,” Thrasher said. “We think we can do it the right way. We think it’s in the best interest for our student athletes to play football.”
DeSantis then said, “Miami is right there with Dr. Thrasher, and FSU, in wanting to play.”
All of which gives the Hurricanes hope that the season can be salvaged and they kick it off Sept. 12 at Hard Rock Stadium against UAB.
Monday was a particularly volatile day for college football with reports Big Ten presidents voted to cancel the season before the league said a vote had not been taken, the Mountain West announcing it will not play fall sports and SEC and ACC administrators reinforcing their desire to give this more time before making a final decision.
Diaz then praised his team on social media following Monday’s late practice for its ability to put aside the distractions.
“Impressed by our guys ability to block out the noise and bring the energy today for Practice 4. These men want to play,” he wrote. He included the hashtags #WeWantToPlay and #WeWantToCoach.
Likens said every practice has been “like Christmas Day,” since the team hit the field Friday.
“They don’t know if this practice is going to be their last,” Likens said late Monday. “It shows you much we love this sport and how much we need this sport.”
Junior running back Cam’Ron Harris said he feels safe because “we have the best medical staff at Miami that’s taking care of us.” Harris supports the #WeWantToPlay movement.
“As a group of Miami Hurricane players, we all have a voice that we want to stand up as one that we want to play,” Harris said. “We’re not worried about what’s on the outside, we’re worried about the Miami Hurricanes. We’re ready to play no matter what.”
Harley labeled the reports on social media “negativity” that can overwhelm a player if he allows it to get in his head.
“It messes with your mental but we don’t want to bring all that to the locker room and then to the practice field,” Harley said.
“The ones who think there shouldn’t be a season (say) ‘just don’t play,’ you’re not in our shoes. You don’t know what we’re going through with family issues or you don’t know what the work we put in to have this season. I just think positive. When I hear negativity, I just block it out. I ignore it.”
As for making their voices heard, Harley believes it will make a difference.
“2020 is just a year you stand on your tip toes and speak,” he said. “A couple of guys, we spoke out, it made headlines, now we’re moving something because of what the players said instead of the coaches and the presidents.
“I feel we’re (off to) a great start. The more negativity coming out the more student-athletes are going to speak out for ourselves.”