Missouri athletes helped lead a march to the Boone County Courthouse in Columbia, Missouri, on Wednesday where they took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd.
Floyd was killed on May 25 after now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Chauvin’s murder charge was upped to second-degree murder on Wednesday and the three other officers present as Floyd died are also now facing charges.
Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz and Missouri men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin were also involved in the March along with other university leaders and local police officers. After everyone involved in the march took a knee, 62 athletes registered to vote.
“Today we decided that action is what causes change,” Drinkwitz said in a statement. “Our integrity is when words and actions come into alignment. So we did that. Our players led a powerful walk to the courthouse where we took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. To honor the life of George Floyd and demand justice. This isn’t political. It’s a human rights issue. And then we registered to vote. 62 student athletes registered. Change will happen.
“Thank you to President Choi, [athletic director] Jim Sterk, members of the athletics department, Columbia City Police and MU Police for also joining in our walk. Everyone against racism.”
Drinkwitz is in his first year as Missouri’s coach after he spent the 2019 season as Appalachian State’s head coach. He was hired in December following Mizzou’s firing of Barry Odom after a 6-6 campaign.
Missouri players protested in 2015
Missouri football players have been prominent peaceful agents of change in recent years. Football players and other athletes were participants in campus protests in 2015 that demanded the resignation of the university’s president following a string of racist incidents on campus.
Over 30 black players said in November of 2015 that they wouldn’t play football in support of an activist who was on a hunger strike until then-president Tim Wolfe resigned. The protest had the support of former Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel, who posted a picture of himself supporting the team the next day.
Wolfe resigned two days after Missouri players announced their boycott as protests happened across the campus. The boycott ended in time for Missouri players to prepare for their upcoming game against BYU, a game that had suddenly been cast in doubt when the protest began.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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