Former Missouri football player Ian Simon believes state senator Paul Wieland’s criticism of former coach Gary Pinkel is unwarranted.
Wieland is threatening to file a formal complaint against Pinkel for supporting his team’s boycott before a November game against BYU that stemmed from anti-racism protests at the university. Simon, a three-year starter at safety, said Wieland’s opinion is misconstrued.
“That’s not fair at all to try and lay anything at coach Pinkel’s feet,” Simon said according to the Kansas City Star’s Tod Palmer. “He (Wieland) wasn’t there, so he doesn’t know. That’s something that we (the players) did. We made that decision.”
Former school president Tim Wolfe eventually resigned during the boycott and other on-campus protests. Shortly after Wolfe’s departure, Pinkel announced he would also be retiring at the end of the year to battle lymphoma. Simon credited his coach for going out on a limb and defending his players.
“That’s a tough thing to stand up for and stand behind,” Simon said, according to Palmer. “It’s not only you on the line, but it’s your whole football program on the line. That’s tough, but hats off to coach Pinkel. It wasn’t an easy position to be in.”