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November 13, 2015

We’ve all seen the headlines: “Mizzou Fires President After Black Football Players Strike.” It sparked discussions of race on campuses, and served as the culmination of racial and cultural strain at the University of Missouri that has been building for decades. It was a fantastic display of solidarity that was supported by the coaches and players of the team, and should be applauded. I don’t think there are many schools in the nation in which players are willing to put playing time, and potentially NFL stock (in the case of the NCAA’s leading tackler in linebacker Kentrell Brothers) on the line for the sake of creating a safe space for their peers.

And then came the chorus of boos for those students helping out. Article after article came out, alleging that Missouri’s president only walked because the athletes wouldn’t play and framed it as another reason why we “care too much” about sports. Which makes no sense, overall. A man was on a hunger strike. Students blocked President Wolfe’s car during a parade. Demonstrations were held all over campus. Once can’t discount all of the work that went into the decision for Wolfe to step down.

Which, by the way, I will spend a second here to applaud. Wolfe recognized that he failed in his position as president to understand the culture of the campus, and would rather leave to help the healing process. That is a good dude. He was ignorant, but I will not call him racist. That is simply undue.

But more than all of that, yes. The football team helped convince Wolfe to resign, and that’s okay. These players are just as much a part of the campus culture as anyone else is. They are just as affected by the racism that has permeated the University of Missouri in Columbia since the school admitted its first black student in 1950. These athletes are, surprisingly enough, students as well as athletes. They call Columbia their home. And they have every single right to use their power as entertainers to make change.

This is not an instance of “PC Gone Wild,” or some proof that sports is more important than academics at institutions like Missouri. So, in honor of the open letter sent by the Missouri Student Union and the football team’s black players, here’s an open letter to those who say the strike intensified their hatred of sports.

Dear Sad People,

Nobody cares. Like, at all. Seriously. Please stop using people’s misery to push your anti-sports message.

Regards,
This Lowly Columnist

Anthony Adams
Sports Columnist

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