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Black Players Boycott Mizzou Football Team, Demand School President’s Resignation

A group of African American athletes at the University of Missouri vows to sit out the rest of the football season unless the school removes its president.

“The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere,” a statement released by the Legion of Black Collegians reads. “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!!!!!”

The boycott stems from a series of racial incidents at the University of Missouri allegedly mishandled by the school’s president, Tim Wolfe. The university president’s detractors cite his refusal to speak with protesters who blocked his car at a homecoming event, swastika graffiti scribbled in human feces, and the experience of Mizzou co-eds enduring n-word taunts as reasons for him to resign. The culprits in the alleged incidents involving excrement and the n-word remain unknown. Beyond a few specific examples, the activists vaguely point to systemic racism as the cause for the movement to ditch the university leader.

Sunday marks the seventh straight day of protest at the Columbia, Missouri, campus. In addition to the boycott by the football players, a graduate student remains on a hunger strike and impromptu demonstrations occur in various campus buildings.

The protesters demand a “handwritten apology” from the president that he read aloud at a press conference, that the school “creates and enforces comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum,” more “funding, resources, and personnel for the social justices centers on campus,” a quota system mandating 10 percent of campus jobs for African Americans, and for the president to “acknowledge his white male privilege” and “recognize that systems of oppression exist,” among other entreaties.

The school’s football team has dropped four games in a row. But at 4-5, they still hold a shot at playing in a bowl game. Contests against BYU, Tennessee, and Arkansas remain.

It’s unclear how many student-athletes participate in the boycott. A picture released on social media showed more than two dozen football players with arms interlocked. Kentrell Brothers, a senior linebacker who leads the nation in tackles, appears as one of the players on strike.

“The department of athletics is aware of the declarations made tonight by many of our student-athletes,” athletic department spokesman Chad Moller explained on Saturday night. “We all must come together with leaders from across our campus to tackle these challenging issues and we support our student-athletes rights to do so.”

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