Recap of MU football team's support to protest against racism
COLUMBIA - The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri plan to meet Monday morning at 10:00 a.m., to talk about the racial unrest that's escalated on the MU campus this past week.
MU Football Coach Gary Pinkel is supporting his football players as they put all football-related activities on hold in a show of solidarity with students protesting racism on campus.
Pinkel tweeted a photo of the team, coaches included, all interlocking arms inside Sells Dining Hall. Pinkel included the caption, "The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players. #ConcernedStudent1950".
Moments later, Media Director Chad Moller met reporters outside the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex (MATC) to say the football team would release a statement Sunday evening. Moller said he was aware of the photo, but didn't know Pinkel had tweeted it. He said Pinkel and his staff support the protest.
"You saw the photo," Moller said.
Moller and Pinkel sent out a news release shortly after 4 p.m. which said, "Today, Sunday, there will be no football practice or formal team activities. 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 [Monday] afternoon."
Pinkel did not meet with media members after the team got together. Several Missouri football players and coaches filed in and out of the training complex, declining comment on any issues related to the meeting.
Missouri redshirt sophomore tight end Jason Reese expressed his pleasure the team made an organized decision.
"I feel great," Reese said. "I love my team. Love them."
Several African American members of the football team took a picture Saturday night with campus activist Jonathan Butler, who is on a hunger strike. Defensive back Anthony Sherrils tweeted out the photo, and an explanation the team would not play or participate in anything football related until UM President Tim Wolfe resigned or was fired.
Reese said he didn't know when the team would practice again.
"Whenever this gets resolved," Reese said.
Both Sherrils and running back Russell Hansbrough said there was no practice. Sherrils said the coaching staff originally planned one, but decided to cancel it in place of a team meeting. The players met on their own around 9:30 a.m. before Pinkel and the staff joined them at 10 a.m. Reese said the team wouldn't talk until it issued a statement.
"I can't speak on that subject. I'm sorry," offensive lineman Nate Crawford said.
"We're not allowed to say anything," said Connor McGovern, another offensive lineman.
Several players expressed satisfaction with how the meeting went. Former Missouri wide receiver L'Damian Washington met with players outside the MATC. Senior linebacker Michael Scherer had a positive response for how united he felt the team was.
"Very," he said, pumping his fist in the air.
The Kansas City Star reports if Missouri does not play against Bringham Young University at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday, their contract would require MU to pay $1 million.
Check the video in the top left corner for a recap of the weekend's events.
[This story has been updated to reflect the most recent information available.]