NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma’s locker room and meeting room holds discussions on many topics. Over the years, there have been many about African-Americans’ interactions with police officers.
The discussions have grown more passionate since the shooting of Terence Crutcher by a Tulsa Police officer last week and the release of police video earlier this week that showed Crutcher with his hands in the air when confronted by four Tulsa Police officers.
“Even before the Tulsa incident, we’ve had conversations about things like this going back to my freshman year,” junior safety Steven Parker said Tuesday night. “We talk about what we can do as African-American players or African-American people as a whole. What can we do to limit ourselves in these situations? One thing is: don’t resist arrest or don’t run from the cops or anything like that. The other thing is to just put your hands up. Don’t give them a reason to do it. But there’s nothing you can do if a cop shoots you and you have your hands up. That’s wrong on them. That’s the part that has me angry.”
Parker is from Jenks. This incident resonates more because it was in Oklahoma and from the part of the state he calls home.
“It’s something that is very hurtful for me, being from there and this situation is happening so close. I’m at a loss for words on what to say,” Parker said. “I’ve seen the video a thousand of times. It has me angry to the point that it’s like what do we do as a society? This is something that has been a problem for a long time and it keeps on happening.”
• Surprise day off: OU returned to the practice field on Wednesday and will practice again on Thursday. Players are still surprised head coach Bob Stoops elected to give them the Monday off following the loss to Ohio State.
“That has never happened before,” linebacker Jordan Evans said Wednesday night. “A lot of guys were pretty banged up after that game so that was probably a good thing.”
Players will get Friday-Sunday off before returning to practice on Monday to prepare for the Oct. 1 game at TCU.
How will Evans use the time off?
“Stay in the film room. Rest your body,” he said. “That’s No. 1; that’s the most important thing. Relax and stay off your feet.”
• Wade needs help: Defensive tackle Jordan Wade played 66 snaps — the most of any defensive lineman — against Ohio State. OU didn’t have many ways to rest him. Junior Matt Romar didn’t play due to an undisclosed injury and sophomore Marquise Overton suffered a season-ending foot injury the previous week.
OU won’t have the services for redshirt freshman Du’Vonta Lampkin until the Oct. 22 game at Texas Tech. He still has three games to go on a six-game suspension.
“You hope Lampkin can come one the last six games and give us a lift. We have to move Neville [Gallimore] or have to move some guys around. Hopefully, Matt will be back next week. That certainly hurt our rotation,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “Jordan had to play 60-some plays, which was incredible against a team like that. Just really proud of his effort. He’s a guy that don’t say much but he always shows up. There’s never anything wrong with him. He just plays. He doesn’t say a word, and there’s something to that. I think he’s probably playing his best football. He’s not a real dynamic guy, but he can sure hold down the point for us inside.”
• More from the head coach: OU coach Bob Stoops said he has to do more in light of the Sooners’ 1-2 start. Parker said the head coach has been more involved in individual and position drills this week.
“He’ll butt in the drills every now and again. He’ll pinpoint mistakes and just basically tell you what you need to improve on. He’s right there all the time, both offensively and defensively in all positions,” Parker said.
John Shinn writes for The Norman Transcript.