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Group of black Missouri players boycott football team in protest of university system president

A social movement sweeping Missouri now includes dozens of football players.

A group of black Missouri football players will refuse to play until University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe resigns, according to a tweet published by Missouri's Legion of Black Collegians Saturday night.

Wolfe has come under fire in recent weeks for his and Missouri's response to a recent series of race-related events. Most importantly, he gave what critics have deemed an insufficient response to a group of protestors who confronted him during Missouri's Homecoming parade on Oct. 20, with the car carrying Wolfe also striking one of the protestors.

In response, a student group calling itself Concerned Student 1950 — which takes its name in part from the year that Missouri first admitted a black student — has emerged as a protesting body and in late October  published a list of demands that include the resignation of Wolfe. And on Nov. 2, the protestor struck by Wolfe's car, a graduate student named Jonathan Butler, announced he would begin a hunger strike that would last until Wolfe resigns, writing of incidents including the president of the Missouri Students Association being called a racial slur on campus.

That president, a student named Payton Head, also tweeted screenshots of messages posted on the app Yik Yak on Thursday. The original tweet of those screenshots has accumulated more than 1,000 retweets as of late Saturday.

Wolfe met with Butler on Friday and issued a statement that included an apology for his response during the Homecoming parade. But he also had a far less successful run-in with protestors in Kansas City, answering a question about "systematic oppression" poorly enough to produce howls that chased him as he walked away from the conversation, and video of that interaction caught fire on social media late Friday night.

"The department of athletics is aware of the declarations made tonight by many of our student-athletes," a Mizzou spokesperson said in a statement. "We all must come together with leaders from across our campus to tackle these challenging issues and we support our student-athletes right to do so."

A significant subset of Missouri's football team has joining the vocal resistance against Wolfe would seem to be the latest large-scale effort by the growing protest movement to force Wolfe and/or the university to act.

Safety Anthony Sherrils was first to post about the boycott, prior to the LBC's tweet.

His original tweet was followed by several more from his teammates.

Defensive back John Gibson III claimed that Missouri's players had the backing of their coaches.

And offensive lineman Paul Adams, who is white, tweeted in support of his protesting teammates.

Missouri players appear to be limiting their comments to social media for now.