COLUMBIA, MO (KTVI)-On Monday, MU Athletic Director Mack Rhoades and head football Coach Gary Pinkel responded to their support of a football players’ boycott of team activities in support of other protests on the University of Missouri- Columbia campus.
Amid a wave of student and faculty protests, the president of the University of Missouri system, Tim Wolfe, resigned Monday. Wolfe had been facing pressure to resign over complaints on how he had handled recent racial tensions and incidents on the Columbia campus.
Mizzou graduate student Jonathan Butler had been on a week-long hunger strike, calling for Wolfe to be removed. Late Friday, more than thirty of Mizzou’s African-American football players said they would not participate in team activities unless Wolfe resigned.
In the news conference, both Rhoades and Pinkel said that it was Butler’s hunger strike and his possible waning health that inspired the football players to take action.
On Saturday, Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel sided with his players in their protest, tweeting “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players,” along with a picture of the team and coaches.
The tweet also included the hasgtag “#Concerned Student 1950,” the activist group that convinced Missouri players to join the cause and was named for the first year African-Americans were admitted to MU.
Mizzou forfeiting the team’s game against BYU next weekend would cost the university $1 million, according to the contract between the two schools.