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Missouri players satisfied with resignation after boycott

Missouri players satisfied with resignation after boycott

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The target of their boycott gone, members of the Missouri football team expressed satisfaction Monday and said their refusal to practice or play was an important step toward changing the campus culture.

The president of the University of Missouri system, Tim Wolfe, quit Monday morning and said he took full responsibility for students angered by what they saw as indifference to racial tensions at the flagship campus in Columbia. His resignation came less than two days after the Tigers announced on social media that they were concerned with the health of Jonathan Butler, who had not eaten for a week as part of protests against Wolfe, and would not practice or play until Butler's hunger strike was over. That came Monday and coach Gary Pinkel said practices would resume Tuesday for Saturday's game against BYU. No players joined Pinkel and athletic director Mack Rhoades at a news conference, but a small group spoke with reporters on campus and said their comments were on behalf of the team.

'We just wanted to use our platform to take a stance as fellow concerned students on an issue that has special meaning as a fellow black man's life was on the line,' said Ian Simon, a senior safety. '''We love the game, but at the end of the day, it is just that — a game.

Through this experience we really began to bridge the gap between student and athlete, and the phrase 'student-athlete' by connecting with the community and realizing the bigger picture, we will continue to build with the community and support positive change on Mizzou's campus.'

Added sophomore defense end Charles Harris: 'Let this be a testament to all of the athletes across the country that you do have power. It started with a few individuals on our team and look what it's become.

Look where it's at right now.

This is nationally known, and it started with just a few.'

Pinkel and Rhoades said they backed their players as soon as the issue came up over the weekend.

'A young man's life, Jonathan Butler, his life was at stake,' Rhoades said. 'That was real for our student-athletes.

That was real for our young men who compete on our football team who maybe have never, ever dealt with that. So our student-athletes decided to get involved, and quite frankly, simply, we supported them.

They decided to be leaders on this issue. To save a life of a fellow student.'

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