CHAPEL HILL — Keenly aware of the contents, North Carolina football player Michael Carter needed several attempts to make it through the video of George Floyd’s killing.


He had to watch the duration, he said — despite starting, stopping, stepping away and restarting — lest perhaps he turn desensitized to the violence that has ignited this time of upheaval in the U.S., and fueled what has become a global movement on racial inequality and social justice.


"I feel the chills in my body again," Carter said recently to reporters, pausing while recounting the particularly personal ways in which he has experienced Floyd’s death.


As the Tar Heels have returned to campus and resumed football workouts, the worldwide conversation on systemic racism and class disparity has taken a meaningful place among their team activities. It’s a necessary and crucial discussion, coach Mack Brown said, amid an endeavor he wants to affect constructive change.


"We told the guys, ‘Talk to us,’ " Brown said. " ‘I’m white. I don’t know how you feel if you’re Black, and you need to tell me.’ "


Carter, the running back who has rushed for 2,159 career yards across the last three seasons at North Carolina, felt compelled to lead a protest with his brother in their hometown of Navarre, Fla., earlier this month.


He said the image and sound of the 46-year-old Floyd calling for his mother, from beneath the knee of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, registered like a flashpoint, with the mix of emotions indelible and troubling.


"It’s trauma," Carter said. "It feels like real trauma, because I see my own dad and I see my uncles and I see my coaches, and I see my brothers and I see myself within George Floyd. I think that within all of that is where I felt so much pain. It felt like an act of terror as I was watching it."


The dialogue and effort must remain ongoing, said Brown, who’s vowing to listen more intently and ask direct questions of his Black players — What can we do to help? What do you need? What helps you five years from now? What helps your children?


Race relations, police brutality, social reform, Brown said all of it is on the table for the Tar Heels. He has conducted meetings with the football team’s leadership committee to address and gauge the collective response around North Carolina’s campus to Floyd’s death and other such charged issues.


"He’s serious about this topic, man," linebacker Tomon Fox said. "We had a meeting with Coach Brown and he just wants to be able to help as much as he can. He wants us to use our voice also to help change."


North Carolina receiver Dyami Brown spoke out by way of a photo posted to Twitter that went viral earlier this month. It contained a striking visual. He’s fully suited up in helmet, uniform and pads during a home game in 2018 at Kenan Stadium, where a sea of Tar Heels fans reaches out to effectively embrace him as he arrives at the base of the stands.


"Sometimes I think this the only time they really care about my life," Dyami Brown wrote to caption the tweet.


He explained Friday that noticeable changes can mark the way he feels he’s perceived, and "some people look at you sideways" when he’s not performing as a football player.


"I’m disappointed that we’re in 2020 and we’ve still got all of this racial injustice going on," Fox said. "But I’m proud of all the people of color for going out and standing up for what’s right. We’ve just got to remain optimistic and know that a change is going to keep coming. We as athletes have a platform to be an advocate for change. We have Coach Brown that’s helping us out with everything, and we’ve got a huge support system."


Mack Brown said: "If the country was run like our dressing room, we wouldn’t have any of these problems, because we’re fair, we’re consistent, and we always try to do what we know is the right thing to do."


The College Football Hall of Fame coach turns 69 in August. He said the quest of gaining perspective and becoming more informed, and therefore connected in a deeper sense, makes for a never-ending but fulfilling process.


"I had a friend tell me one time, ‘I’m not letting my son get his driver’s license because I’m afraid that if he drives he’ll be pulled over and he’ll be stopped, and I’m afraid he might get shot,’ " Brown said. "And at that time — it was 15 years ago, probably, maybe 10 — I thought, ‘Come on, man. Don’t be that way. He wants to drive, let him drive.’ And now, after the recent things that I’ve seen, it hit me that I understand now what he was talking about.


"My job is to listen, respond and react and try to help be part of the change for the positive, and not just worry about what happens in the confines of our team, and that’s what I’ve always done. I’ve tried to do right, I’ve tried to speak out, but this change is bigger than a football locker room or a football team, and I need to be a part of that, because I really believe it."