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Entire Mizzou football team arm-in-arm with coaches in support of player strike

The Tigers' coaching staff is expressing support on Twitter for striking players.


Football players at the University of Missouri have taken the extraordinary step this weekend of refusing to play for the Tigers until the school's system president leaves office.

The initial known group was comprised of black players angered by what they view as an insufficient response to on-campus racism by the university system's president, Tim Wolfe. He's faced criticism for his handling of a wave of racial hostility on campus, and the players want him out of his job, either via firing or resignation.

On Sunday, though, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel tweeted this:

That's a whole lot of Missouri football players, many of them white, and coaches linking arms under a banner of the #ConcernedStudent1950 hashtag, which has carried the movement's message on social media.

Last week, Missouri student Jonathan Butler announced he'd go on a hunger strike to push for Wolfe's removal. Here's Butler on his cause, via student journalists at The Maneater.

Butler is holding his strike as a response to the lack of action from Wolfe to several instances of racism and discrimination in the past months. He will end the strike when Wolfe is no longer in office, or when his internal organs fail, he said. But in the letter, Butler stressed that he has nothing against Wolfe personally.

"Let it be known I have no ill will or thoughts of harm toward Mr. Wolfe," Butler wrote. "But I do have an urgency to make the campus I call home a more safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all identities and backgrounds."

Team spokesman Chad Moller spoke to Missouri beat writer David Morrison:

Wolfe released a statement on Sunday afternoon.

Practice did not take place on Sunday, and there is no word on when it will resume.

An anonymous Missouri player suggested more is going on behind the scenes.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey also released a statement.

Missouri could take a $1 million hit if its game against BYU is cancelled.