University of Missouri football team and coach join protest to oust university … – Los Angeles Times

After a spate of racially charged incidents on and around the University of Missouri campus, the football team announced this weekend that it would not participate in football-related activities and would support a hunger striker’s demand that the university president leave or be fired.

The team’s black players announced their decision Saturday night. The white players quickly backed them up, as did football coach Gary Pinkel.

“The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere,’” the players said in a statement. “We will no longer participate in any football-related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experience. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!”

Pinkel tweeted a photo of the team and the coaches locking arms and said on Twitter Sunday: “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united.”

The coach used the hashtag #ConcernedStudent1950, invoking a campus coalition whose name reflects the year the university began accepting black students. (Even today, more than 75% of the university’s 35,000 students are white.)

Pinkel and Athletic Director Mack Rhoades issued a statement announcing that Sunday’s practice had been canceled and that the players would not resume practicing until the hunger strike ends.

The team is scheduled to host Brigham Young University next Saturday. Skipping the game would cost the school more than $1 million.

“Our focus right now is on the health of Jonathan Butler, the concerns of our student-athletes and working with our community to address this serious issue,” Rhoades said.

The university scheduled a meeting of its governing body, the Board of Curators, for Monday. The university did not say what the meeting would be about, but said part of it would be an executive session closed to the news media.

The campus furor is not just about race. But several black students have said some white students use the n-word, and last month someone drew a swastika on a residence hall wall, using human feces.

Wolfe, a former businessman, became president of the University of Missouri system in 2012. Protesters accuse him of not taking enough action or showing enough sensitivity to the problems.

Wolfe has issued a series of statements in recent days, including one Sunday in which he said, “It is clear to all of us that change is needed.” He did not indicate any intention to resign, but added that his administration is reflecting on how to address the situation and said that the university had been working on a “systemwide diversity and inclusion strategy” due out by April.

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