Not sure which Columbia you live in or how you measure 80-100 miles, but I couldnt disagree more, I have lived in Kansas City for 35 years where the support for MIZZOU is higher now than I've ever seen it. Let's not turn on ourselves after a tough year, teams will go through those, we are on the edge of the SEC world, our challenges are different from those of Alabama, Mississippi, but we do bring value , tradition and pride of our University to the SEC.
If nothing else, these past couple days have challenged me to think. Candidly, I think much of the specific complaints are a "tempest in a teapot". Our young people will soon learn the world is full of crude and loathsome people who will say hurtful things because that is how they cope with their own insecurities and fears. I personally do not respect the hunger strike and the dramatic implications that Mizzou is no better than 50 or 60 years ago. However, I do keep in mind college students are still learning about being adults and they may tend to see things in more extremes than I do. Therefore, the failure here lies squarely on the shoulders of the administration. This could have been managed successfully if the administration had taken a more proactive and personal approach to helping these students understand how to best effect change in a peaceful and constructive manner. But, they didn't, instead they let things spiral out of their control. The most important job of leadership is to nurture the mission, values and culture of an organization. This did not happen, in the real world, leaders are held responsible for this. With respect to the football team. The young men risked their scholarships and their opportunity to play college football for something they believed in. That took great courage. While I may think the cause was flawed, I can find nothing but admiration for their courage and willingness to take such personal risk for something they believe in. As they gain maturity and experience, they will learn how to evaluate causes they get behind. But, instead of staying comfortable in the Athletic Training Center, these men showed the courage to put their football scholarships and participation on the line. I know some of them personally and am proud of them. You know, a little revolution now and then never hurt a society, our great Nation was born from revolution. Let's get better, not angry.
And I am certain, Wolfman, you will be the first "kind and generous" person in line to help, too. Relax, our University survived my generation, presumably yours and it will survive this one. These men will leave with a sense of having done something that mattered and a respect for the University-and the coach-that let them try on a man's role. The issues will fade but the new maturity will not.
At first I didn't like what was happening at the school I have loved for 40 years since being a freshman. But as I watched I gained admiration for these young men. They could have very easily hung out in the comfortable Athletic Training Center watching films and convincing themselves that what happened "out there" didn't matter to them, they were, after all, college athletes. I am still not so sure the ruckus was justified, but that is truly the responsibility of the University administration that failed to respond in a timely and thorough manner. But these young men knew they were taking a risk to stand up for something. They risked their scholarships and the opportunity to play the sport they love for something they believe in. What did you risk in your criticism? Give me a company full of people willing to put their comfort at risk, we can all learn from them. And from Coach Pinkel who taught them the world is bigger than football, even SEC football. I am very proud we are part of the SEC and even more proud that many of my LSU and Alabama friends have contacted me today to express their appreciation for how these young men handled themselves. It is not the cause, it is the courage. And Cajun Dan, don't worry about not coming to Columbia, I am certain LSU will bring plenty of excited and friendly Tigers with them...and maybe I will see you next year when I came for a little Tiger sparring.
The athletes could have accomplished more by being facilitative leaders rather than confrontational. To create such a polarizing situation only results in emotional responses where someone must lose. Decisions such as these have consequences. I love my university, first enrolled there 40 years ago, I will stand with MIZZOU.