Mizzou Athletics apologizes for controversial tweet attempting to promote diversity

3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago Thursday, October 24 2019 Oct 24, 2019 Thursday, October 24, 2019 12:57:00 PM CDT October 24, 2019 in News
By: Claire Bradshaw, KOMU 8 Reporter and Spencer Quist, KOMU 8 News Digital Producer
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COLUMBIA - Mizzou Athletics posted a controversial tweet yesterday evening in an attempt to promote diversity amongst student athletes.

The tweet showed two pictures of African American athletic department members and two white athletes. The pictures of the African Americans said "I am an African American woman" and "I value equality."

The tweet, which was part of the NCAA's inclusion campaign, gained traction after many Twitter users expressed outrage at its content.

It was taken down the same night.

Caleb Sewell is a student at the university who said the tweet was careless.

"I was disappointed, but not surprised," Sewell said.

Mizzou Athletics later apologized in a second tweet posted shortly after the first was deleted.

"Earlier we made a mistake when we posted a graphic about our student athletes. We apologize. Our intent was to provide personal information about our students, but we failed. We listened and removed the post. This video better represents our intent to celebrate our diversity."

Sewell said the apology isn't enough to make up for the tweet.

"It showed a lack of actual care for the diversity and inclusion efforts that we strive for at the University of Missouri as well," Sewell said.

University of Missouri School of Journalism Strategic Communications professor Cynthia Frisby said the tweet wasn't well vetted before being posted.

"Now it is going to be a matter of the public relations people, not only did they take it down and apologize immediately...but I think this is a broader lesson for the University of Missouri," Frisby said.

Frisby and others on Twitter brought up the university's protests in November 2015.

Frisby and Sewell both said diversity is more than just including someone because of their race. It is about including socio-economic backgrounds, religions, genders and more.

MU spokesperson Christian Basi said that the University backs MU Athletic's apology.

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