Kansas State football players are using their platform to condemn a tweet made by a fellow student and demand consequences from the school for that student’s tweet.
The leader of America First Students at the school posted a tweet on Thursday congratulating George Floyd for being drug free for a month. Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
It doesn’t take much common sense to see how that tweet was offensive or a play for attention. And multiple Kansas State players — athletes with far bigger platforms — immediately spoke out against Jaden McNeil’s “joke” with requests for change.
Women’s basketball player Christianna Carr — a native of Manhattan, Kansas — posted a tweet Friday afternoon that said Black athletes wouldn’t “play or participate in any donor or recruiting events” until the school creates a policy to expel anyone who “openly displays racism” on social media platforms and in other public situations. Defensive back Jonathan Alexander posted a similar letter, too.
Several players kept pushing on Saturday, too, and said they will not play or practice again until change is implemented.
Players earn support of school leaders
Kansas State’s players immediately got the support of their athletic department leaders on Friday. Coach Chris Klieman tweeted, “Our program and our coaches will continue to be part of the solution when it comes to racial injustice. I love our players and they know I have their backs.”
Athletic director Gene Taylor said over the course of two tweets that “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.
“They are not reflective of our administration and goals. We are committed to listening and supporting our Black athletes, Black students and members of our Black community and taking positive steps in the matters of social injustice and racism.”
The school said it was investigating and president Richard Myers stated his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Group’s ties to white nationalism
McNeil is the former president of the K-State chapter of a student group that supports President Donald Trump. He resigned from Turning Point USA because he said the group “constantly cedes cultural ground to the Left.”
According to the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, the America First student group that McNeil now leads is part of an attempted rebrand of the alt-right movement. The new rebranded name “Groyper” is based on the Pepe the frog meme that was adopted by the alt-right and white nationalists in recent years.
To put their plan in motion, “groypers” have returned to campus activism. Just one month after the Groyper Summit, ex-Turning Point USA Kansas State University chapter leader Jaden McNeil, who became an active participant in “groyper” activity, announced the formation of a new group, America First Students.
McNeil’s tweet is not the first time a college-aged adult’s offensive George Floyd social media post has been condemned. An incoming lacrosse player at Marquette had her scholarship offer rescinded after Snapchats in the wake of Floyd’s death. And an incoming freshman at Missouri rescinded her enrollment after the school said it would investigate a social media video where she mocked Floyd’s death with her knee on someone else’s neck.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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