Members of the University of Minnesota football team have began a boycott of all football related activities following the suspension of 10 of its players due to an ongoing investigation into a sexual assault case.
The 10 players in question were suspended Tuesday night. The boycott appears to be a well-calculated move that conveys the solidarity of the Minnesota teammates.The Golden Gophers are due to play Washington State in the Holiday Bowl on December 27th, but seem ready to stand firm on their position.
Athletic director Mark Coyle and President Eric Kaler have been called upon by the team to be held accountable for their supposedly hasty actions, which have been characterized as unethical.
On Thursday, the Golden Gophers exited the locker room in unison and walked onto the practice field, effectively beginning their boycott.
Senior wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky read a prepared statement, saying, "The boycott will remain in effect until due process is followed and the suspensions for all 10 players are lifted…We further request that (President Eric) Kaler and (Mark) Coyle (apologize) and demand that these leaders are held accountable for their actions. This decision for the players to take this stance is not easy, but important to preserve the integrity of the program and ourselves."
He continued, "The actions of president Kaler have breached fiduciary duty not only to the 10 falsely accused, but to all of us."
Senior quarterback Mitch Leidner expressed empathy for his fellow teammates implicated in the investigation. "All these kids’ reputations are destroyed. Their names are destroyed. It’s extremely difficult to get back and it’s very unfair for them and that’s why we’re sticking together through this thing,” Leidner said.
Frustration has reached a boiling point in Minnesota and a resolution doesn't seem to be close in sight.