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MU football players promise holdout to support campus protests

UPDATED (1:45 P.M.)UM System President Tim Wolfe is not stepping down, according to a statement he issued Sunday. In that release, Wolfe stated, “In the meantime, I am dedicated to ongoing dialogue to address these very complex, societal issues as they affect our campus community.”You can see the full statement here.

Earlier Sunday, Missouri Football CoachGary Pinkel tweeted out a photo of the football team together saying, “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players.” When asked if that meant the football team stands with the movement, MU spokesman Chad Moller said, “You saw the tweet.” The photo came after the Mizzou football team held a meeting this morning at the Missouri Athletic Training Complex.

Most Mizzou football players would not comment as they entered and left the Missouri Athletic Training Complex Sunday afternoon. However, tight end Jason Reese spoke on behalf of the players saying, “We all made this decision as a team to not talk to the media.” Reese also said after the meeting, “I feel great. I love my team.” Reese also said there was supposed to be practice today. When asked when practice will resume, Reese said, “Whenever this gets resolved.”

Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon, weighed in on the issue releasing this statement late Sunday morning. “Racism and intolerance have no place at the University of Missouri or anywhere in our state. Our colleges and universities must be havens of trust and understanding. These concerns must be addressed to ensure the University of Missouri is a place where all students can pursue their dreams in an environment of respect, tolerance and inclusion.”

UPDATED (10:06 P.M.): A Mizzou football spokesperson released this statement from the University of Missouri Athletic Department regarding the player protests:

“The department of athletics is aware of the declarations made tonight by many of our student-athletes. 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.”

Below is tonight’s original story:

COLUMBIA –Several University of Missouri football players tweeted their support of ongoing campus protests against racial injustice, promising to stop playing games until UM System President Tim Wolfe resigns.

Defensive players Anthony Sherrils and John Gibson III, both African-American, tweeted the message, along with a picture of several athletes standing with MU grad student Jonathan Butler. Butler started a hunger strike Monday in opposition to Wolfe’s handling of “a collection of incidents” this year, including racist comments yelled at student body president Payton Head and Wolfe’s handling of student protestors at the Homecoming parade. He said he would end his hunger strike when Wolfe resigned.

“The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe “Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere”,” a message accompanying the picture reads in Sherrils and others’ tweets. “We will no longer participate in any football related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experiences. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!”

MU football spokesman Chad Moller said the program was “working to get our hands around the facts of the situation.”

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