University of Missouri football players threaten to boycott season over campus racism

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A group of black University of Missouri Tigers football players have announced that they plan to boycott the remainder of the season unless the university's president resigns over his handling of racially charged incidents on campus.

"The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe 'Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere," the players wrote in a statement. "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!!!!!"

Players also posted a series of tweets about their movement.


On Sunday, head coach Gary Pinkel pledged solidarity with the players.

The players are joining a protest movement called Concerned Student 50—referring to the year Missouri first accepted an African American student—that has sprung up at the school in response to a string of racist incidents on campus. At least one student, Jonathan Butler, has launched a hunger strike, pledging he would not eat as long as Wolfe was still president. One of the photos tweeted by the Tigers players shows them linking arms with Butler.

Butler posted a letter to Facebook saying that since taking Wolfe took office in 2012, “there have been a slew of racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. incidents that have dynamically disrupted the learning experience for marginalized/underrepresented students at the University of Missouri."

The most recent ones, he said, have involved Missouri Student Association President Payton Head allegedly “being called the n word on campus,” graduate students “being robbed of their health insurance,” Planned Parenthood services "being stripped from campus," and a swastika drawn in feces being found in a residential hall.


Concerned Student 50 has also called for Wolfe to leave, posting a list of demands about changes they want to see.


UPDATE: Sunday afternoon, Wolfe issued a statement saying he would not step down.


Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has also issued a statement in response to the protests, saying the concerns "must be addressed," though he provided no specific recommendations or plan of action.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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