Jacob Seus and Joey Gjata, 23 Sports

Monday, November 9–

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Photo courtesy of breakingnews.com.

Hours after UM System President Tim Wolfe resigned from office, Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades and head football coach Gary Pinkel defended the actions of Mizzou football during Monday’s media day press conference at the Missouri Athletic Training Center.

“The players, those guys are my kids. I love those guys,” Pinkel said during the press conference. “I did the right thing and I would do it again.”

On Saturday, Nov. 7, athletes on the Missouri Tigers football team announced they would not be taking part in football-related activities until Wolfe either resigned or was removed from office.

Multiple players took to twitter to express their support and included a picture with participants’ arms locked in unity and an unofficial statement mentioning “injustice” and “negligence”.

together pic-football

Photo from @GaryPinkel on Twitter.

According to an official statement on Sunday, Nov. 8, the team declared it would not participate in football-­­­­­­related activities until graduate student Jonathan Butler ended his hunger strike.

According to athletic director Mack Rhoades, the focus of the team was placed on the health of Butler: “What can we do to make sure that Jonathan Butler eats,” Rhoades said. “I never felt leveraged by the situation. Sometimes extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures.”

Rhoades mentioned he had “mixed emotions” about Wolfe’s resignation. “Wolfe is a caring man who deeply cares about this institution and realized we were at a point that to begin the healing process, he needed to step down. We all admire him for that,” Rhoades said.

Pinkel and his staff fully stood behind his players and the movement. “Players were crying. I didn’t look at the consequences. I supported my players when they needed me,” Pinkel said.

“My players are my kids. I love them. I have 127 of them. My players deeply cared about this guy and asked for my support,” Pinkel said.

The strike put Saturday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City in jeopardy and failure to play would potentially have resulted in a $1 million fine for the university.

Rhoades said the financial ramifications were not their focus if they had not played against BYU. “Tom [Holmoe], BYU athletic director, called me not to talk about the issue [of canceling the game], but to lend their support and ask how they could help,” Rhoades said.

Early Monday morning, it was announced in a press conference that Wolfe had resigned, effectively ending the hunger strike and resuming all football activities in preparation for Saturday’s game.

When asked about job security, Rhoades reiterated that in talking to athletes, there was never any discussion about anyone losing their job. It was simply about saving someone’s life.

Pinkel added, “These problems exist on every campus in America. But the good news is, we’ll learn from our mistakes and make it a much better place.”

Pinkel said the team will meet later Monday night and then it will be back to “business as usual” the rest of the week.

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