Missouri coach Gary Pinkel confirmed Sunday night that the Tigers are boycotting football-related activities to support Jonathan Butler, a graduate student who began a hunger strike Monday to protest racism on campus.
“Today, Sunday, there will be no football practice or formal team activities,” Pinkel said in a statement. “Our focus right now is on the health of Jonathan Butler, the concerns of our student-athletes and working with our community to address this serious issue. After meeting with the team this morning, it is clear they do not plan to return to practice until Jonathan resumes eating. We are continuing to have department, campus, and student meetings as we work through this issue and will provide further comment tomorrow afternoon.”
Earlier in the day, Pinkel tweeted out a photo of the team with the caption, “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players. #ConcernedStudent1950 GP.”
The Tigers are scheduled to play BYU at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, on Saturday.
UPDATE: SEC commisioner Greg Sankey also released a statement Sunday: “I have been in touch with University of Missouri athletics officials today and will remain in communication as necessary. I respect Missouri student-athletes for engaging on issues of importance and am hopeful the concerns at the center of this matter will be resolved in a positive matter.”
- Coach Gary Pinkel tweeted a powerful photo in support of the players’ decision to boycott.
- Players tweeted Saturday night that they will cease all football operations to support the protests.
- The embattled president of the university, Tim Wolfe, released a statement.
- Not playing the game could cost the university a lot of money.
- The Missourian has a timeline of all the events on Missouri’s campus that have led to the protests and the football team’s decision.