Kansas State football players put a hiatus on all team activities — including play — until their demands are met by the university.
In a statement posted by several players on social media, they ask the university to establish a policy that allows for tangible consequences against students and others who make racist statements or use racist rhetoric.
No comment … 23 out until further notice 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/zX8Z0W7UK5
— Joshua Youngblood (@YB060) June 27, 2020
It comes on the heels of a recent campus controversy centered around a tweet from a K-State student about George Floyd. The student has claimed on social media that the tweet was a joke. This incident has made national headlines.
Several Black student athletes from other sports have already indicated that they will not play in their respective seasons unless action is taken by the university. At the time of publication, the football team was the only team to issue a full team statement.
“To our family at Kansas State: Due to the recent disparaging, insensitive, and unsettling comments made by a fellow student, we as a football team, after consultation with students from campus organizations as well as students from the general student body, feel it is best for us to stand with the students,” the statement says.
‘People know it’s a problem’: Students call attention to on-campus racism with #BlackAtKState video
The message makes the players’ demands clear.
“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 consequences for not taking action are clear — they will not play.
“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.”
Head football coach Chris Klieman has not personally shared the statement, but tweeted his support for his team on Friday.
“Our program and our coaches will continue to be part of the solution when it comes to racial injustice. I love our players and they know I have their backs,” Klieman tweeted.
Our program and our coaches will continue to be part of the solution when it comes to racial injustice. I love our players and they know I have their backs.
— Chris Klieman (@CoachKli) June 26, 2020
K-State Athletics put out a statement on Twitter on Saturday evening that says they too support their student athletes in their fight against racism.
K-State Athletics, along with President Myers and University leadership, respect and support our student-athletes in standing up in the fight against racism. At @KState we are a family and we will work together to make our campus community an even better place to call home.
— K-State Athletics (@kstatesports) June 28, 2020
The university has yet to make a statement on how it will deal with the student who made the tweets, but in a statement made on behalf of President Richard Myers K-State said it plans to “[launch] an immediate review of the university’s options.”
We are launching an immediate review of the university’s options. Black Lives Matter at Kansas State University and we will continue to fight for social justice.
— K-State (@KState) June 26, 2020
In a special K-State Today, Myers said “students who do not want to treat people with dignity and respect should consider whether K-State is the right place for them, because K-State will not waver in its efforts to build an empathetic, diverse and inclusive campus community.”