A rash of racist incidents has plagued the University of Missouri campus so far this year, and University President Tom Wolfe's response to the incidents has not been enough to satisfy students on campus. Things have gotten so bad that the unheard of has happened: the school's black college football players have gone on strike until Wolfe is removed.
More than 30 football players at the University of Missouri will not participate in any practices or games until Missouri System president Tim Wolfe resigns or is terminated. Several black team members announced their decision to strike on social media Saturday night and Missouri's Legion of Black Collegians posted a statement on behalf of the team with a picture of players unified in support of the boycott.
Wolfe's response to a series of racist incidents has been considered inadequate by many students who believe racism has poisoned the campus. A graduate student, Jonathan Butler, announced earlier in the week he was going on a hunger strike until Wolfe was removed. The most recent racist incident came Oct. 24 when a swastika was drawn with human feces on a college dorm's white wall.
Sophomore defensive back Anthony Sherrils tweeted: "The athletes of color on 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!!!!!!"
Several more African-American players, including senior running back and team captain Russell Hansbrough, followed with a series of passionate tweets. Missouri’s student body is 77% white and 7% black, while 58 of the school’s 84 scholarship football players are African-American.
The students have the support of their coaches and fellow white players, and it's powerful to see this happen in the middle of the season like this., but let's be honest about what's going on here:
In the 15 months since African-American teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., universities around the country have become home to protests. Missouri's campus in Columbia sits about two hours west of Ferguson.
And considering that we have problems with black church burnings in the area, it's good that these students are taking the incidents and drawing attention to the University of Missouri.
Good for them.