The 2015 Missouri football team that threatened to boycott a college football game amid racial tensions on campus will be honored with the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award at the second annual Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards hosted by ESPN in July, ESPN announced Thursday.
“We are honored to once again gather the sports world to recognize these charitable individuals and organizations,” Kevin Martinez, ESPN vice president of Corporate Citizenship said in a press release. “Thanks to the collective support from numerous sports leagues and our sponsors, the inaugural Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards was an enormous success with significant funds awarded to The V Foundation’s Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund as well as so many other impactful causes. We plan to build upon that, and make this year an even more powerful showcase of how the power of sport can ENSPIRE social change.”
In response to rising racial tensions after several incidents against the black students on campus, the Missouri football team announced as a team it would boycott the game against BYU in November if the school president did not resign. It was a bold and daring act that could have cost each player his scholarship and a paid-for education.
It was also effective. The president stepped down amidst the pressure Missouri would lose the revenue from the neutral site game that weekend and amid the growing pressure and notice coming from the nation to the issues at Missouri.
It was a brave statement for sure from the Tigers and its players to change things on campus.
The award is a small token of recognition for that bravery.