Members of Kansas State's football team are threatening to boycott the upcoming season following comments made by a fellow student, Jaden McNeil. He tweeted a joke about George Floyd, an African American man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis. This joke sparked outrage from members of the student body and K-State's football team.
"Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!" McNeil tweeted on Thursday. In response, cornerback Tee Denson said that he refuses to play for a program that "tolerates ignorance." Wide receiver Joshua Youngblood also said that he's not coming back until K-State kicks out McNeil. Many other members of the football team weighed in with comments about McNeil's tweet and opinions about how the school should respond.
"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," said Kansas State University President Richard Myers. "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."
Twitter users and members of the student body have called for K-State to expel McNeil for his joke, but others have defended him. These individuals have said that McNeil simply made a "tasteless joke" and that he's protected by the First Amendment. Instead of asking K-State to expel McNeil, those that defended him are asking for the university to seek out students making "threats of violence against him."
"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," said K-State Athletic Director Gene Taylor. "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."
This statement prompted responses from several people on Twitter, including those that expected members of the football team to transfer to another school. Although others also asked Taylor about threats made against McNeil. The arguments continued on Thursday and into the weekend as social media users made several comments about free speech and what is allowed under the First Amendment.