UNC Coach Defends His Players

UNC Coach Defends His Players

Several basketball players at the University of North Carolina are reacting to an on-campus controversy that involves a confederate statue that was toppled four months ago during a demonstration. 

On Friday the university's Board of Governors rejected a plan to build a new home for the "Silent Sam" Confederate statue. 

The university's Board of Trustees recently approved a plan to move the statue to a new $5.3 million building on campus. 

The move was an effort to diffuse tensions over the monument. 

Before the vote, men's basketball head coach Roy Williams commented on the ongoing situation. Several members of Williams' team signed a letter to the UNC Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors that opposed the statue returning to campus.

“I talked to our guys about it, told them if they feel strongly about it, go right ahead,” Williams said Friday. "It's a touchy issue. It's a hard issue and it's an easy issue, it really is. It's something we've talked about on multiple occasions. As an alum, as a graduate, as a coach I've got to have many different views on things but it's a very divisive thing. I hate that we have anything this divisive on our campus or involved in our institution."

UNC President, Margaret Spellings did not comment on the players signing the letter but she did say the future of the Silent Sam statue is a serious issue. 

"That means we must hold the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff as paramount and I know this board joins me in offering our deepest gratitude to the men and women in our law enforcement offices today and everyday," she said. 

Opponents of the plan that was rejected Friday said the proposed location was near a Jewish synagogue where the majority of black UNC students live. 

The university now plans to work on an off-campus solution.