O'Brien did not mince words and spoke directly to the issue so many people, including his own players, are marching for in the streets -- combating racism.
"Our hearts go out to the black community in this country and especially in this city," O'Brien said on a Zoom conference call, also offering his condolences to Floyd's family. "We stand by you. And we are ready to do our part in this community. I think everyone has to admit their mistakes along the way. We all have to stand up and understand what is going on in this country right now is wrong. It’s wrong."
O'Brien said he was inspired by a previous statement from Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who he knows personally. It's personal relationships like his with Flores, wide receiver Kenny Stills and quarterback Deshaun Watson that have helped inform O'Brien's opinions and passion on this subject.
He said it was important to speak up as a white head coach in the NFL.
O'Brien pretended to not know what "platforms mean," yet acknowledge their significance in amplifying messages of anti-racism and unity.
"I just know that we need to do our part," O'Brien said. "President Obama spoke and wrote about how we can sustain the momentum to bring about real change. He said it’s important that we all be interested in being activists. To be honest, I’ve thought about what I am doing, coaching, and can I do more? I realize I have a job to do as a coach. I realize that’s my main job, but can I do more? These people have made me think. President Obama said, “The protests represent a genuine legitimate frustration over a decade’s long failure to reform police practices in the broader criminal justice system in the US.
"This is one of the reasons why Kenny Stills takes a knee."
O'Brien announced on the call that he was calling off virtual meetings June 9 in honor of George Floyd, and he encouraged players to attend the funeral.
"I’ve told my players since 2014 that I have their back. I’ve told my players in 2017, ‘I have your back’. I will continue to tell them that I have their back," O'Brien said. "If they need time to themselves, they can have time to themselves. If they need resources from us to try to begin to heal, we’ve got to help them. We have a lot of resources here to help them, they will get it. And finally, if they just need someone to listen, maybe they don’t want to talk to me about it, but we have plenty of people here that they can talk to about it."