The genesis of this latest development is Jaden McNeil. Or, more specifically, a tweet sent out by McNeil. According to the Wichita Eagle, McNeil is “a junior at K-State who has been in the news previously for founding the white-supremacist group America First Students in Manhattan.”
Thursday, McNeil posted the following on Twitter:
“Congratulations to George Floyd on being [drug-free] for an entire month!” Floyd, a Black man, was murdered by a white Minneapolis police officer Memorial Day, sparking a month of peaceful protests and violent riots as a response to racial injustice and police brutality.
Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!
— Jaden McNeil (@JadenPMcNeil) June 25, 2020
In response to McNeil’s tweet, and the subsequent outcry from the community, the university’s president, Richard Myers, issued the following statement:
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. 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.
Saturday, however, saw K-State football players across the roster, both Black and white, posted a unified statement on Twitter in which they vowed to not “play, practice or meet” until the university puts “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.”
Below is the entirety of the student-athletes’ 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.”
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. 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.
As of yet, the university has not responded to the demands of its student-athletes.