A group of players on the University of Missouri football team are taking a stand against the school’s president Tim Wolfe.
Members of the university’s Legion of Black Collegians announced through Twitter on Saturday that they would be on strike from all football activities until Wolfe either resigns or is removed from his position.
“We are no longer taking it,” the group wrote. “It’s time to fight. #ConcernedStudent1950 #MizzouHungerStrike.”
Attached to the tweet was a photo of the group of 32 black men and a short post outlining their stance against Wolfe.
“The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere,’ ” the post said. “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!!!!!”
Wolfe has come under fire for how he handled multiple recent racial controversies and incidents on campus, including an altercation involving the Missouri Students Association president Payton Head, who said he was racially abused while walking around the school. The university chancellor didn’t address the incident for nearly a week, despite student protests, according to ESPN.
Coach Gary Pinkel later tweeted his support for the group of players, writing on Sunday “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We Are united. We are behind our players.”
Pinkel’s tweet included a photo of the entire football team.
After the initial strike announcement, the university’s athletic department issued a statement on Twitter, Saturday.
“The department of athletics is aware of the declarations made tonight by many of our student-athletes,” the statement said. “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.”
On Sunday night, Pinkel also announced through the account that there would be no football practice or team activities on that day.
A hunger strike in protest of Wolfe was initially started last Monday by Jonathan Butler, a Missouri grad student. In a lengthy letter posted to Facebook, Butler accused the school’s administration of “apathy,” which, in turn, he said has led to a normalization of “hatred, bigotry, and racism” on campus.
In Pinkel and Mack Rhoades’ Sunday tweets, Butler and his ongoing strike was addressed.
“Our focus right now is on the health of Jonathan Butler, the concerns of our student-athletes and working with our community to address this serious issue,” the Mizzou Athletics account wrote. “After meeting with the team this morning, it is clear they do not plan to return to practice until Jonathan resumes eating. We are continuing to have department, campus and student meetings as we work through this issue and will provide further comment tomorrow afternoon.”
A petition on Change.org has also been created to have president Wolfe removed from Office.