Home / Top Story / Mizzou football players on strike amid racial harrassment

Mizzou football players on strike amid racial harrassment


Updated: Sunday, November 8, 2015, 11:49 AM

A strike against University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe has members of the University of Missouri Tigers out of the game until he resigns. Ed Zurga/Getty Images

A strike against University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe has members of the University of Missouri Tigers out of the game until he resigns. 

The striking Mizzou want change.

NCAA Division I players are refusing to play ball until University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigns for not taking a string of racially-charged harassment on the Columbia campus seriously.

At least 30 of the team’s African-American athletes linked arms and posed for a photo Saturday to announce an unprecedented practice and game strike, according to a statement issued through Missouri’s Legion of Black Collegians Saturday night.

Half of the players on the football roster are black, according to the Missourian.

“We will no longer participate in football related activities until president Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experiences,” a statement read.


The Tigers lost 31-13 to Mississippi State on Thursday as anti-discrimination rallies against rampant use of racial slurs and anti-Semitic vandalism ramped up on campus. The next scheduled game is not until Nov. 14 against Brigham Young University.

FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2014, FILE PHOTOJeff Roberson/AP

Missouri System President Tim Wolfe was confronted by protesters Friday and said “you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success.”

Several players took to social media to show off their support for the “Concerned Student 1950” strike and the school’s athletics department came forward to address the protest.

The department is standing by the game strike inspired by an atmosphere of racial discrimination dating back to September. The team’s head coach, Gary Pinkel, has not issued a public statement.

“We all must come together with leaders from across our campus to tackle these challenging issues and we support our student-athletes right to do so,” said Chad Moller, the football team’s spokesman, in a statement.

Student protesters confronted Wolfe in Kansas City, Mo., Friday with worries of deepening racism, but his response only fanned the ire of demonstrators by blaming disparity on a lack of ambition.

“Systematic oppression is because you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success,” Wolfe said in the encounter captured on video.

University of Missouri graduate student Jonathan Butler joined the protests with a hunger strike on Monday that has been going strong for nearly a week.


A series of rallies calling for racial tolerance have led up to the strike among University of Missouri football players. 

He demanded Wolfe be removed from office “or my internal organs fail and my life is lost,” Butler wrote in a letter to the University of Missouri System Board of Curators who have the ability to terminate Wolfe.

“My heart is still strong and I am still empowered to keep going,” Butler wrote Friday. “This pursuit towards justice is necessary. We are #ConcernedStudent1950 and we are the change we want to see.”

Third cornerback John Gibson III claims their “coaches are 100% behind us — including the white ones.”

One of the first racially-charged incidents of the 2015-16 school year was on Sept. 12 when a group of men riding in the back of a pickup truck shouted the “N-word” at Missouri Students Association president Payton Head on campus, the Missourian reported.

The following month, a drunk man harassed members of the Legion of Black Collegians with racial slurs as the group was at rehearsal for the Homecoming Royalty Court at Traditions Plaza.

Columbia is 110 miles west of Ferguson, Mo., where a police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who is black. His death spawned the national “Black Lives Matter” movement against police brutality.


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