Equality knows no boundaries
Equality knows no boundaries
The University of Missouri has been in the news for about a week now — for some good reasons and for some not so good reasons. Last week, the University of Missouri football team announced it would boycott all team activities, including playing games, if the university president, Tim Wolfe, didn’t resign. On Monday, Wolfe was gone.
This protest began with students on campus as an outcry for the lack of attention the administration had given to multiple racially charged events against African-American students on campus. But it also did more than bring attention to a crippling idea that racism doesn’t still exist in America, because it does. It very much does.
Missouri football head coach Gary Pinkle didn’t bat an eye when his players told them what they were doing. He “stood by my players. That’s what I have to do.”
The university could have lost up to $1 million had the players not played in the game this weekend against BYU. The action that the Mizzou football team took showcased how much power college athletics has on real, meaningful policy change.
We saw a similar situation in Oklahoma when the the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was suspended when a racist video surfaced. The football and basketball teams at the University of Oklahoma stood by the campus and its members, black and white alike, and demanded action be taken. The fraternity was later closed for good.
The media is often broken up into chunks. You have the political media, the sports media, the arts and entertainment media, et cetera.
But when you combine a cause that brings policy change and a Power 5 university football program together, and one of those is hindered by the incompetence of a university, it brings a whole other kind of storm than the uneasiness of dealing with racist students on your campus.
This is a sports story as much as it is a political or news story. But one thing is for certain: College athletes are starting to recognize they are not just good for winning conference championships and bringing joy and excitement to a school. But rather, they’re starting to realize the real power they possess as being images in the public eye. And when a band of brothers like the University of Missouri football team comes together and sacrifices their own playing time, scholarships and personal attention, it shows that these things we blow off — a student on a hunger strike or the racist chants by fellow students — are no longer “just things that happen.”
This column and stance has probably been written by 100 difference people by now, which is good. You might have read this, agreed or disagreed with parts of it from other outlets. But as a firm believer that education is the most powerful weapon a person can possess, I encourage you to continue this discussion with your friends, families and peers so that in the future, the passion that is in the University of Missouri football team might also be instilled in you.
Contact Sports Editor Stephen Koenigsfeld at [email protected]