LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Several hundred community members joined University of Louisville athletes for a peaceful protest led by the men's basketball team on campus Friday afternoon.

"This is the Louisville that I know," senior Malik Williams said to the crowd gathered at Cardinal Stadium.

The march began in front of Thornton’s Academic Center and lasted nearly an hour. Community members and U of L athletes from other sports joined the protest with signs and shirts showing support.

"The turnout was greater than we ever could have imagined," Williams said. "This is exactly what we envisioned, getting our message out about inequality, discrimination, racism and hate."

Several players addressed the crowd before the march, encouraging everyone to stay peaceful. University of Louisville Police officers were also on scene and provided barricades along the march route.

"The truth is, today we can take a step in the right direction," graduate transfer Charles Minlend said. "When we march today, we’re honoring Breonna Taylor. We’re honoring all the people we’ve lost."

"I understand as a white guy, a 50-year-old, that Black America is hurting," head coach Chris Mack said. "In order for Black America to not hurt, white have got to get involved, older white people. I don’t want to be old, but unfortunately that’s the reality."

Mack marched with his players but stayed back while they led the group. He and his team wore matching Black Lives Matter shirts.

"I feel bad for some people who want to politicize it," Mack said. "For me, this is about Black people’s lives, whether you want to talk about the organization. It’s about making sure that the people in this world are seen as equal."

Nothing was said about the upcoming season or sports in general. Instead, players asked people to get involved in the upcoming election by joining the team at Shawnee Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, for a voter registration event.   

The event will be held on the very same basketball courts the team shot its 2019-20 hype video played before home games.

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