Maneater Long Reads: A Sideline Stand

Revisit how a group of collegiate football players used its platform for change.
Missouri Tigers (from left) Charles Harris (91), A.J. Logan (75), Josh Augusta (97), Duron Singleton (2) and Marcus Loud (35) pray before kickoff Friday, Nov. 28, 2014 at Memorial Stadium at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo.

Out of a mass of jubilant students on Carnahan Quad, all singing and dancing and chanting to the sound of change after UM System President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation Monday, Nov. 9, Ian Simon emerged — clenched fist in the air — victorious. Followed by his band of proud teammates, heads held high in triumph, the Missouri football players had solidified the voice of the student-athlete.

The underlying issues and resolutions rooted in racial tension at MU are complicated, but the events that occurred in a 48-hour span from the evening of Nov. 7 until the afternoon of Nov. 9 prove that one thing is very obvious: The student-athlete is more powerful than ever.

This isn’t just a story of the controversial resignation of a university system president. This isn’t just a story of years of built-up racial tension at a major university. This is a story of a group of student-athletes who used their platform to take a stand for what they believed in, transforming the way many view the role of NCAA athletes on campuses across the country.

“It started with a few individuals on our team and look what it’s become,” sophomore defensive end Charles Harris said in a prepared statement released that Monday. “Look where we are right now. This is nationally known, and it started with just a few.”

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