transcript (thanks to AL.com: "Like many of you, my wife and my kids and myself sit and watch the news and scratch our heads and wonder how we can have an impact on what’s going on in the world, particularly in our country. The only thing I can think of is ‘follow your north star,’ and for us in our athletics department, our north star and our guiding light continues to be to educate, develop, support our student-athletes at any opportunity. This is certainly a time where they need our guidance. "In these moments we find ourselves in today provide a unique and extraordinary opportunity. Even in times in a health pandemic, a financial crisis and civil unrest, we must continue to guide our young people and help them to be leaders of tomorrow; we even need them to be leaders of today. I started thinking about, you don’t need to shout to be heard, but if others aren’t listening, frustration will certainly ensue. "So, my simple advice is: Listen to your neighbor. Take the opportunity to hear somebody out. Just listen. Care enough to engage in others who aren’t like you, who may have a different perspective on life, who may see the world through a different lens, and be OK knowing that their differences — you have to welcome them. I know some conversations are uncomfortable, but this discomfort allows us to grow through acknowledgement and empathy. At Auburn, our student-athletes, they deserve to have a safe space to be heard. All people deserve to have a safe space to be heard so that we can learn and grow and make a difference. "After speaking to our head coaches, we will certainly recommit ourselves to processing these challenging times and to channel our energies into positive, constructive action. I’ll certainly admit, being a leader under these unique circumstances is difficult, and we must handle all these things delicately and authentically. I guess, rest assured, know that our Auburn family and our athletics family will extend grace and forgiveness and will also demand decency. We will demand dignity and we will demand respect for all, and together we will find a way to use our influence for good. "Nelson Mandela often quoted, and I’ll have to read this: ‘Sports has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope where there was once only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the faces of all types of discrimination. Sport is a game of lovers, and we have to love each other right now.’ We believe in all these things, because we believe the Auburn creed, and I encourage everyone out there to join us so we can demonstrate to the world that we’re better when we’re united versus being apart. War Eagle."