The University of Minnesota Football program has boycotted all team activities.
The boycott is in response to 10 players on the team being suspended by the university after an investigation into a sexual assault case. The Gophers football program expressed frustration over a lack of communication and unwillingness to reason from Minnesota athletic director, Mark Coyle, and President, Eric Kaler. Four of the suspended players missed three games earlier in the season and five players were recommended for expulsion by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at the school. There were no arrests or charges filed stemming from the incident and the restraining order put in place by the woman involved was lifted.
The entire Minnesota football roster walked out of the team facilities wearing their jerseys and met with media members to discuss their complaint.
”All these kids’ reputations are destroyed,” said senior quarterback Mitch Leidner said Thursday. ”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.”
Head coach, Tracy Claeys, along with other members and former players, all lent their support to the team.
”I’m very proud of those young men,” said former UM star, Antoine Winfield Sr. ”It took a lot. Everyone didn’t have to participate in that. But that’s what I love about football. It’s a team game. It’s a brotherhood and it shows you the support and love that all the players feel for each other.”