Missouri’s Biggest Win
The Missouri Tigers were a football team many expected some good things out of this season. They returned some talent on offense and plenty talent on defense. Couple that with what some believed to be a weaker SEC Eastern division and there was some thought that Missouri would win the East again. They started the season ranked in the Top 25 and won their first few games albeit unimpressively. But eventually the luck ran out, as the defense could only do so much. And as of right now, they are on the border of not making a bowl game. Needless to say, the feelings about the season this team is having aren’t great among the fans. But the biggest win the Tigers may have could come off the field. Thirty-plus African-American members of the Missouri football team said that they will not be practicing or playing until something is done about the president of the university, Tim Wolfe.
For those that are not aware, there have been some incidents on Missouri’s campus that many consider racial in their undertone. And many of the students have brought their issues to Wolfe, only for him to never address them. The students started making noise calling for the ouster for Wolfe but it was not getting the push it needed. But when the players got behind the movement and said they wanted Wolfe gone, folks began to listen. The news of this boycott of practices and games began to hit national media this weekend. And there were tons of responses from folks across social media. There were some thoughts expressed by some that these players need to have their scholarships pulled and that they need to just “shut up and play”. And there were even some that felt that they were just doing this as a publicity stunt. Well, there is no publicity stunt about this one at all folks. They have made their stand and drawn their line in the sand.
Many times when social issues arise, people don’t want athletes to stand up at all. The prevailing thought from some is that they should not address these issues because they are “just athletes”. But I for one am glad these players did not do what many thought they should. They followed in the steps of what the immortal Jim Brown would do and used their platform for social change. Plenty of players have had the opportunity to take their stage and make their stand. For example, LeBron James and Derrick Rose made stands last season with their “I Can’t Breathe” shirts in reference to the last words of Eric Gardner, who was killed by New York police unjustly. No matter what everyone thinks of athletes, their effect on things is bigger than the normal everyday person. And because of that, they tend to get a message across to a broader group of people much easier.
As a result of this stand by the Missouri football players, more support is pouring in. Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel supports them in their decision and also the governor of Missouri supports their right to make a stand. It seems like the arrival of the football team in this matter has made for some positive change. And as a result, there will more than likely be some change to the leadership at the university. If there isn’t, then the university will start to feel the brunt of it. Pinkel cancelled practice today for the team. The Tigers are supposed to be prepping for the BYU Cougars. And if they don’t play this Saturday, they stand to lose $1 million for the university. With that type of money at stake, the Missouri players aren’t flinching. After all, it isn’t money they will see anyway (but of course that is another story.) They are fighting for what they believe has been injustice by someone that is the head of the university. And the momentum is picking up behind their stand. The football players used their platform to stand up for something. The best thing about this all is the support they all have at the school. They stand united and uncaring of the consequences they could face. And sometimes, that is what it takes to make change.
For those that are coming at these kids with ill words and intent, you ought to be thankful these kids are standing up for their rights. These kids could be standing for all the wrong things and making all the wrong choices. But they stand united for the right to make some positive change not only for them but for others around them. That not only shows courage but it shows selflessness as well. So stand up and applaud these kids. I salute these kids and hope they continue to make their stand for what they feel is right. And Wolfe, I hope you already started cleaning out your office.
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