RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The pain is deep, familiar and so searingly simple. NC State offensive lineman Grant Gibson explained it Monday afternoon.
"It's been rough on us because we see ourselves in George Floyd. That could have been me, that could have been Zay, it could have been one of the guys on the team," Gibson said.
Like so many others, Gibson and his Wolfpack teammate Isaiah Moore have been struggling to process the emotions of these last few days.
"Anger to sadness, and then to ultimately fear," Moore said. "You fear that when you walk outside, are you going to make it home? Fear. And then when a cop is behind you -- is he going to pull you over? Is he a good guy or bad guy?"
Duke's co-defensive coordinator Matt Guerrieri was outraged when he watched the George Floyd video. For a day or two, he struggled through meetings and then Friday, he decided he needed to scrap the X's and O's.
"I pride myself on real relationships, authentic relationships, and having private conversations with those guys. Are you OK? Let's talk about this, this is far more important than football," he said. "Listen to understand, not listen to respond. And that's one of the things that I'm trying to do to the best of my ability is to listen and understand and try to be an advocate for those guys."
The challenge for him, he said, is putting his emotions into action.
"I told them I don't want this to be one post, one phone conversation," Guerrieri said. "How do we make this work where we're making a meaningful change and standing for what's right?"
UNC soccer star Brianna Pinto was determined to use her voice as well.
"This is eye-opening for me because in the past I felt like I hadn't really had a voice," Pinto said. "I felt like it was kind of looked down upon as athletes to speak out for what you believe in, but this was such an egregious hate crime in my eyes and I feel like if I don't speak out, who will?"
Pinto at UNC and Gibson and Moore at State said they've all felt genuinely supported by their coaches and teammates. What they want now is to see them take the next step and advocate for lasting change.
"My challenge to people who are now aware of the privileges that they may have is to call out racism in your own environment," Pinto said.
Moore said words are appreciated but they can only accomplish so much.
"A lot of people can post on social media or say that they want to see change, but to have someone actually putting in an effort to try and make that change actually happen - that's ultimately what we want," Moore said.
Triangle athletes process emotions following George Floyd video