Memphis players will show their support for the "Black Lives Matter" movement by wearing "BLM" helmet decals this season.
First-year Tigers coach Ryan Silverfield told The Commercial Appeal in a text message that the idea came from the student-athletes.
"It doesn't mean we support any anti-American, violent organization or hate group or any specific political party," he said. "In fact, I love this country and I love our players. Rather the decal is a show of support to our team."
University president M. David Rudd issued a statement supporting the team's exercise of free speech.
"I want to make clear this does not represent endorsement of any political entity or affiliated group," Rudd said. "It represents a commitment to social justice and American values we all embrace but have not fully realized as a country."
Silverfield, 39, replaced Mike Norvell, now the head coach at Florida State. Silverfield was the interim head coach for the Tigers' 53-39 loss to Penn State in last season's Cotton Bowl.
He joined Memphis in 2016 as offensive line coach and was elevated to deputy head coach prior to the 2019 season.
Silverfield's resume includes six seasons on the Minnesota Vikings staff (2008-13), and he also worked as an assistant offensive line coach with the Detroit Lions for part of the 2015 season.
The Tigers have been to four straight bowl games and won the American Athletic Conference in 2019.
--Field Level Media