HOOVER, Ala. — Les Miles is probably still talking.
The LSU coach turned his opening statement at SEC Media Days into a bizarre 21-minute monologue that touched on the Alton Sterling aftermath, LeBron James and Cuba’s political philosophies, among several other topics.
His thoughts on Sterling — who was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police under controversial circumstances on July 5 — enforced a somber introductory tone.
Miles said his staff had “several meetings” internally, two meetings with team leadership, and a full team meeting (broken up by position groups) following the shooting, an incident that drove some of his players to make political statements.
“We brushed the surface of the issues,” Miles said. “I don’t know that we got to the depth that we needed.”
He compared his team to society, in the sense that “you need everybody” on the same page.
“If you look to look to see change, and if you watch the representation of our country on live TV,” Miles said. “You realize change is necessary. It comes through all of us. Everybody in the room. Certainly me. This is inclusive. You reach for others. You need to be respectful of their life and their opinion and who they are. You need compassion for people. You build them up. You train ’em. You give ’em the best practices, and we change. As a team. As a community. And as a society.”
Miles wants his players “to have a platform where they can affect change,” calling them “wonderful men.”
From there, he switched gears to an anecdote about getting NBA Finals tickets.
Apparently, he met his daughter (a student at the University of Texas) and his son (a backup quarterback at North Carolina) in Austin, and they surprised him with a flight to Cleveland to see LeBron James and Co. take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 6.
“I had a blast,” Miles said. “The Cavs won, men and ladies. The Cavaliers, Cleveland, LeBron James, and all those. It was a wonderful series. Going to a seventh game. I could not have been more happy.”
Miles’ quirkiness (“My wife and I separated,” he said about his wife’s summer road trip with their son) was entertaining throughout the first half his opening statement.
Later, he felt compelled to tell reporters that he spent some time in Cuba, adding, “Cuba is a communist country.”
His other interesting anecdote: A softball session in which he broke two toes while catching pitches from his daughter.
“Anybody that’s a parent or a wannabe parent: You never catch a son pitcher or a female fast-pitch softball pitcher in flip-flops and a can,” Miles said. “When you sit on the can, you put your feet in front of the can, and it’s an obvious position to be hit.”
Just under 10 minutes into his speech, he finally said, “OK, now, LSU…”
The room laughed, unaware that Miles still had 11 minutes of specific — and comparatively boring — thoughts on his football team.
“I think we’ve had a very good summer to this point,” Miles concluded as reporters checked their watches. “Questions?”