McNutt reflects on systemic change, protest, and Kinnick vandalism
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - There is already positive change going on in the Iowa football program to give all players of different races an equal voice, following allegations of racial disparities in the program from former players.
The Hawkeyes’ all-time leading receiver Marvin McNutt is proud of other former black players for speaking out to spark change.
“I’m very proud of my teammates, I’m very proud of every person that has a voice that is no longer silent about it,” McNutt said. “For so long we have been silent, for so long there have been things pushed over to where it’s just the black community speaking to each other, instead of the black community speaking to the coaches, and the coaches to the rest of the players and the whole university. Time now is for change.”
McNutt has a tremendous amount of respect for his former coaches, so for him, this is not personal. It’s all about change.
“The Iowa coaches are part of a systematic issue,” McNutt said. “Coach Ferentz, I know, in his heart is not a bad person. Coach Doyle even. A lot of times it’s not always racism as much as it is about, you know, he just sometimes had it out for certain people. Now is the time that, with what they’re trying to do, the good people inside of them is coming out. That person we expect coach Ferentz to be is coming out.”
While it was hard for Marvin to watch Kinnick Stadium damaged by some of the protesters, he understands why they did it.
“I love Kinnick Stadium. That’s a place that’s my home. Touch that helmet every time I walk in," McNutt said. “So, it does hurt. But, at the same time, I understand the pain. I understand what people feel when they hear the path that we had been on as a program to where we should have been. I understand the anger and pain. So, for me, I get it, it’s about life right now. So when we start seeing more life changes I think you’ll start seeing less protest, less looting, less rioting.”
McNutt, who grew up in St. Louis but now calls Cedar Rapids home, attended the protest in downtown over the weekend. He was blown away by the support from the community.
“It was an awesome experience to see the city of Cedar Rapids come together the way that it did, because in my generation I had never seen anything like that,” McNutt said.
McNutt was brought to tears when he joined thousands of other protesters lying on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on First Avenue. That was the same length of time that ex-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on the neck of George Floyd, according to eyewitness video. Chauvin, and the other officers involved, have been charged.
“Basically our hands behind our back for eight minutes. Within 50 seconds I was in tears because I was uncomfortable,” McNutt said. “I said to myself there’s no possible way that for eight minutes someone could have that type of anger in them to not hear and feel what we felt, as a human, when you listened and watched that video.”
McNutt, a father of four, hopes the Black Lives Matter movement makes this a more racially diverse world for his children to grow up in.
“I have a 5-year-old son, and for me, this moment is way bigger than football. It’s way bigger than a knee. It’s a moment about life,” McNutt said. “Now is the time for change, because I don’t want to be nervous for my son’s future. That if he gets pulled over he won’t know how to react, or if he reacts a certain way that could be the end of his life. That’s no longer an option.”
In part three of this series on Wednesday night, McNutt talks about his love for coaching and giving back. And, how he hopes this movement gives him more opportunities in the future.
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