Several Kansas State student-athletes announced over the weekend that they would not play their respective sports unless a student was dismissed from school for his tweet about George Floyd.
The student, Jaden McNeil, tweeted, “Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!”
Twitter reportedly removed the tweet for violating the company’s rules. McNeil reportedly later tweeted: “I condemned George Floyd’s life of violent crime and Twitter gave me a 12 hour suspension for ‘glorifying violence.’”
Multiple Kansas State student-athletes, including several football players, announced they won’t be playing unless the university does something. The school’s AD released a statement:
“Recent tweets from a K-State student downplaying the Black Lives Matter effort and the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd are disgusting and totally inappropriate and not reflective of who we are as a University or our Athletic Department,” Athletic Director Gene Taylor said. “They are not reflective of our administration and goals. We are committed to listening [to] and supporting our black athletes, black students and members of our black community and taking positive steps in the matters of social injustice and racism.”
The incident has sparked other Kansas State student-athletes to speak up. Christianna Carr, a guard for the women’s basketball team, shared a disturbing DM she received.
If you ever think that racism isn’t real & that all of this is just hate comments and I’m just on twitter crying about basic human rights…Just remember that me ( A 20 year old African American female) got this sent to my DM’s last night. pic.twitter.com/C6DrAqal4W
— christianna mae (@chrissycarr4) June 27, 2020
Carr was one of many Kansas State student-athletes to speak up about McNeil’s tweet.
“We also need to see student Jaden McNeil receive strong consequences of his insensitive actions,” Carr writes. “If these actions are not taken, it is a promise that we will not play.”
Please respect my decision. pic.twitter.com/S74a0hwPYe
— christianna mae (@chrissycarr4) June 26, 2020
This is the latest example of student-athletes using their platforms to spark change.
Earlier this month, we saw Oklahoma State football players call for change after seeing a photo of head coach Mike Gundy in an O.A.N. shirt. Several players, including star running back Chuba Hubbard, used Twitter to call for attention. This led to Gundy issuing an apology and a promise to do better.
Sunday night, we saw the state of Mississippi pass a bill that will lead to the changing of the Confederate-themed state flag. This came after several Ole Miss and Mississippi State players demanded its removal.
College football and basketball players have long held a lot of power and leverage. As you can see in recent days, they’re really starting to use it.