Forcing change: Why Missouri football could spark changes in other sports

11/12/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak



University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned just days after members of the school's football team went on strike and said they would not participate in practice or play in this weekend's game unless Wolfe stepped down. The reasoning for the players deciding to strike, if you will, was because many on campus felt Wolfe poorly handled a series of troubling racial incidents on campus.
So with the backing of their coaches, the players boycotted practicing and said they would not play this weekend's game versus BYU that was scheduled to be held at Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Chiefs. Had the team not played, it would've cost the university over one million dollars.
But this isn't about the money. It isn't about racism. This isn't about sports. This could go far beyond that. See, these are college football players. They're considered to be amateur athletes, even though they make billions of dollars per year for their respective universities and for the NCAA. They took a risk, and could've suffered major consequences. They could've lost their scholarships, They could've been replaced by walk on players. They have no union representation. But they stood up for what they believed was right and got the desired result.

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So let's take this beyond the University of Missouri football team now. Let's look at this as a catalyst that could be something so much greater. Let's think about what would happen if NFL players would take this approach.
With the recent photos of Greg Hardy's ex girlfriend surfacing, showing the damage he inflicted on her in a domestic violence incident Hardy was arrested and charged for, a lot of backlash came towards the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, and Greg Hardy himself. But this time, instead of the usual Roger Goodell bashing, the finger started to point in another direction. It pointed towards the NFL players union.
See unlike the football players at Missouri, the NFL players do have a union. A very strong union. The NFLPA. A union that has shown it's much stronger than the NFL commissioners office time and time again. One of those shows of strength was having Greg Hardy's 10 game suspension for his role in that incident reduced to 4 games.
So what if? What if NFL players decided to follow the lead of the Missouri football team? Two members of the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line spoke out against Hardy after the game versus the Cowboys this past weekend. What if those players decided they wouldn't play against Dallas unless Hardy was deactivated? What if a player like William Gay of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lost his mother to domestic violence, decided to take a stand and rallied his teammates? What if the entire Pittsburgh Steelers team said they wouldn't play unless Greg Hardy wasn't allowed to?
It may sound far fetched, but it's more realistic than a lot may think. You cant start a fire without a spark. The Missouri football team provided that spark. They showed the real power lies within the players. So what if some players in the NFL followed that lead and stood up against domestic violence? Maybe then we would finally see the change that so many want to see in regards to the NFL.

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