Black student athletes on the University of Missouri football team have begun a boycott in response to heightened racial tensions on campus. Stemming from a series of incidents that have taken place on campus, a group of 32 players posed for a protest photo and refused to take part football activities until university president Tim Wolfe leaves his post.
Sophomore safety Anthony Sherrils posted the photo along with a message regarding the boycott on Twitter, citing Wolfe’s “negligence towards marginalized students’ experiences.” Other members of the team also took to Twitter, as well as the team’s coach, Gary Pinkel.
The athletes of color of the University of Missouri football team truly believe “Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere” 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’ experiences. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!”
— HeMadeAKing (@1Sherrils_2MIZZ) November 8, 2015
— Coach Gary Pinkel (@GaryPinkel) November 8, 2015
In a timeline formulated by The Columbia Missourian, high-profiled racially-charged incidents have been going on all fall. Back in September, Missouri Students Association president Payton Head took to Facebook to detail being referred to as the n-word. In October, the school’s Legion of Black Collegians shared an encounter with a student who used racial slurs against the organization. A protest group called Members of Concerned Student 1950 staged a series of demonstrations into November, including one in front of Wolfe’s car, which led to a meeting that did not produce any results. Wolfe issued an apology on the matter.
“I am asking us to move forward in addressing the racism that exists at our university — and it does exist. Together we must rise to the challenge of combatting racism, injustice, and intolerance.”
Students from the University of Missouri team are expected to speak with the media on Monday (Nov. 9). A spokesperson from the school’s athletic department issued a statement to ESPN: “The department of athletics is aware of the declarations made tonight by many of our student-athletes. 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.”