It's been a tumultuous week in Charlotte, N.C., where the fatal shooting of an African American man by a black police officer led to protests, some turning violent, and the declaration of a state of emergency.

The turmoil has affected the University of North Carolina Charlotte, whose football team lost to Temple, 48-20, in a non-conference game Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Charlotte athletic director Judy Rose said that the campus is about three miles from where the shooting took place and that the protests were about 10 miles from campus, in the opposite direction.

Starting left tackle Jamal Covington, a redshirt senior, eloquently expressed his emotions about the situation after the game.

"It really breaks my heart to see a lot of things it has done to a lot of people in the community," Covington said. "I can see the passion and pain on a lot of people's faces and things like that."

He's hoping to make a difference.

"I am just really trying to do everything I can for the community and the football team," Covington said.

When student-athletes were asked whether they could join the protests, they were told they could, but the athletic department discussed the dangers.

"We told them they had the right to protest, but asked they consider the safety of themselves and others," Rose said during a pregame interview. "We also ask them to understand that if they do anything unlawful, that there are consequences and it doesn't get excused because it is during a protest."

Covington was among those exercising his right. He took part in the campus protests, and did his best to make sure they were constructive.

"I was in the vicinity monitoring, making sure everything was going according to plan," said Covington, who added that he took part only in protests on campus. "I didn't want anything violent to break out and was really just trying to be that positive voice, have that leadership role and making sure nothing negative happened."

Rose said that on Monday the athletic department will hold an open forum for the student-athletes, with the head of the counseling center present.

"It is not mandatory, but anybody who would like to voice opinion, frustration, or concerns can do so," she said.

Covington said he would be there.

"I plan to attend, to give our student-athletes a voice," he said. "We're trying to see what next steps we can really do to implement change in the community."