MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State football players say they will boycott all team activities until administrators create a policy that would allow a student to be expelled for “openly racist, threatening or disrespectful actions.”
The move that most players announced Saturday on social media follows a tweet by a student about the death of George Floyd that prompted outrage on campus.
“We are demanding that Kansas State University put a policy in place that allows a student to be dismissed for displaying openly racist, threatening or disrespectful actions toward a student or groups of students,” the players said in the letter they posted. “We have resolved that we cannot play, practice or meet until these demands are heard and actions taken. We love Kansas State, but we must stand together and protect all students moving forward.”
Late Sunday, coach Chris Klieman tweeted his support: “Racism is NOT welcome at KSTATE now or in the future. … I am excited to help every player unite for the solution NOW, so that that we can come together stronger than ever. Black Lives Matter.”
On Thursday, one month after Floyd, a Black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck for more than eight minutes, student Jaden McNeil tweeted, “Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!”
University officials have said they are exploring their options for action after the tweet. University President Richard Myers said Friday that “divisive statements do not represent for the values of our university.”
McNeil describes himself as the founder of a conservative group called America First Students, which Kansas State says is not currently registered on the campus because of a lack of membership. America First Students had already drawn the ire of students for past statements made by McNeil.
McNeil has previously said America First Students is a “mainstream, Christian, conservative organization that supports President Donald Trump.”
The statement from football players Saturday came a day after a pair of Kansas State basketball players and a handful of football players threatened a boycott if the university didn’t take action. A number of college athletes around the country have used their influence to push for social justice since Floyd’s death.
Kansas State football players aren’t currently participating in any practices or workouts because team activities were suspended earlier this month after a coronavirus outbreak within the team. Summer workouts are expected to resume July 13.