Football coaches from Ole Miss and Mississippi State are joining an effort to demand that the State of Mississippi remove the Confederate symbol from the state’s flag.
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) coach Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State University coach Mike Leach linked arms on the issue with Kiffin telling ESPN that it is “time to change.”
“We removed the flag from our campus five years ago, so we’ve made it clear that it doesn’t represent who we are at Ole Miss,” Kiffin said. “Today is another big step in doing our part to move the state forward and ensure a more welcoming environment for everyone. This is extremely important to me and to our players. Time to change!”
Leach added that a state flag is supposed to instill pride, not loathing.
“The purpose of a state flag is to create pride and enthusiasm amongst the citizens,” Leach said. “It should also create great energy to elevate the economy, education and athletics. The current flag doesn’t do that. We need a state flag that everyone is proud of.”
The statements from the coaches come on the heels of a joint statement condemning the state’s flag from eight universities and colleges in Mississippi.
The group’s statement came on the heels of a new rule from the NCAA that maintains that states with Confederate emblems on their flags may not be eligible to host NCAA championship games.
The schools signing onto the letter include Alcorn State, Delta State, Jackson State, Miss. State, Miss. University for Women, Miss. Valley State, University of Southern Miss., and the University of Mississippi
The state added the Confederate emblem to its state banner in 1894, some 30 years after the end of the Civil War.
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