Athletes at Kansas State are threatening to boycott playing and other athletic department events if the school does not take action after a student’s George Floyd-related tweet.
Jaden McNeil, the leader of the school’s American First Student organization on Thursday congratulated Floyd in a tweet “on being drug free for an entire month!” Floyd, a black man, was killed at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. While others on social media deemed McNeil’s tweet nothing more than “a joke,” many of the K-State athletes were not laughing.
Freshman cornerback Tee Denson tweeted that he refuses to play for a program that “tolerates ignorance such as this.” Defensive back Tyrone Lewis Jr. wrote on Twitter that McNeil’s tweet was unacceptable and “Something has to change!!”
Christianna Carr, a member of the women’s basketball team, posted a statement on Friday that said collectively “as Black student athletes we will NO LONGER accept these types of actions” and stated that if they do not see change “we will not play or participate in any donor or recruitment events.” The statement also was tweeted by senior defensive back Jonathan Alexander.
The statement asks the university for a policy against racism that “will expel any student that openly displays racism on all platforms” and for “strong consequences” for McNeil.
The school has responded to the athletes’ complaints. University President Richard Myers tweeted a statement on Kansas State’s official Twitter account Friday.
“The insensitive comments posted by one K-State student hurts our entire community. These divisive statements do not represent for the values of our university,” Myers said. “We condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms. 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.”
Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman and athletic director Gene Taylor both tweeted their support for the athletes.
“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,” Taylor wrote.