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Reid It Out: Mizzou’s football team proves black athletes are just trophies

By Dysheada Reid, Editor-in-Chief
On November 23, 2015

Black lives do not matter, but black dollars do. Thirty-two football players from the University of Missouri illuminated that fact when they refused to participate in any athletic-related activities until then president, Tim Wolfe,resigned.

Discrimination and prejudice against black people are ingrained in the history of the university and can be traced back to the 1980s. The recent protests are not a response to just one racist event, but a string of them, spanning nearly five years.

Students have demanded that university leaders address the issue of racial insensitivity on campus, but the only way to shake their biased attitude toward racism was to threaten their money.

According to CBS Sports, canceling the football game with Brigham Young University on Nov. 14 would have cost Mizzou a $1 million penalty.

When the black students from the football team released a Twitter statement on Nov. 8 saying they will not play until Wolfe resigned, the next day, Wolfe AND former chancellor, Bowen Loftin, did just that.

The fear of losing $1 million dollars is the only reason Wolfe and Loftin stepped down. The social and political economy of state universities is heavily tied to their athletic departments, especially football. Not to mention most of the teams are populated by black players.

In the words of sports sociologist Harry Edwards, “It looks like Ghana on the field and Sweden in the stands.”

The Mizzou football players withheld their talent, put theirscholarships on the line and used their high social status and economic leverage to drive the message home.

College athletes do not get paid, even though the money generated by their efforts on the field is pocketed by universities.

The Mizzou football team realized its worth and knew its stance on the issue would send a powerful message to administration.

This is a lesson to students everywhere seeking change within their universities. To see quick, effective change, you have tohit campus administrators where it hurts – their pockets. If you can find a way to obstruct a school’s financial gain, sadly, you will see instant change.

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