FSU star Wilson critical of sitting out as protest

  • ACC reporter.
  • Joined ESPN in 2012.
  • Graduate of the University of Delaware.

Florida State Seminoles defensive tackle Marvin Wilson was one of the most outspoken voices on social justice issues during the offseason.

But he said Thursday that he’s not been a part of any conversations like the ones that led to open letters from Big Ten and Pac-12 players demanding reforms and new standards for health, safety, race issues and player compensation.

Wilson, the No. 9 player on Mel Kiper’s early 2021 NFL Draft big board, said he never considered sitting out this season, and his focus is entirely local — both on and off the field.

“I didn’t come back to sit out and just go prepare for the league,” Wilson said ahead of Florida State’s first practice since the COVID-19 outbreak. “That’s taking the easy way out. For me, personally, I feel like I have work to do here in Tallahassee.”

Wilson made waves in June when he publicly reprimanded Florida State coach Mike Norvell for misrepresenting meetings between coaches and players in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody. Wilson posted to Twitter that the team would sit out of voluntary workouts until the situation was resolved. Norvell later met with players to clear the air and thanked Wilson for bringing attention to the situation.

In the aftermath, Wilson has worked to start his own charitable foundation called “Marvin’s Movement,” which he said is aimed at working with kids on financial literacy and other community service projects.

Wilson said he’s been comfortable with Florida State’s safety procedures throughout voluntary workouts, including routine testing, screening and social distancing. He said new helmets with special protective visors are uncomfortable, but that players continue to wear them.

“They’re overemphasizing everything, really,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that he’d had no conversations with family about opting out, as several other potential first-round draft picks have, including Penn State’s Micah Parsons, Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman and Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley.

“Finally getting back to the team and training at the stadium,” Wilson said, “I feel like to opt out at this last minute when we’ve worked so hard, that would be disrespectful [to my teammates.]”

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