Mississippi State continues push for a new state flag

Joel Coleman

Mississippi State's push for a new state flag continues.

The current state flag – which contains the confederate battle emblem many view as racist – has been the center of attention over the last week in particular. Here is the latest on the issue from the Starkville/MSU side of things, as of late Wednesday afternoon.

- 9:45 p.m. UPDATE - Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger reported on Wednesday night that MSU athletic director John Cohen and head football coach Mike Leach will be in Jackson on Thursday to lobby lawmakers for a flag change. Cowbell Corner has now learned that also scheduled to be at the Capitol are head baseball coach Chris Lemonis, head women’s basketball coach Nikki McCray-Penson, head men’s basketball coach Ben Howland, head softball coach Samantha Ricketts and track and field head coach Chris Woods. Here are other updates on the situation from earlier Wednesday:

– Mississippi State women's basketball coach Nikki McCray-Penson issued this statement on Twitter Wednesday:

"I stand with (Mississippi State) President Mark Keenum, Director of Athletics John Cohen and (Southeastern Conference) Commissioner Greg Sankey in support for changing the state flag of Mississippi. There is no place in our society for symbols of hatred, discrimination and oppression. As a Black woman coaching at one of the most diverse universities in the SEC, I look forward to seeing change that unites us and accurately represents our great community. I understand our student-athletes and fans may be affected by the NCAA's decision (to withhold postseason events from Mississippi as long as the current state flag is flown), but ultimately, this marks an important step toward inclusivity and an end to racial injustice."

– It appears Keenum and other leaders in higher education were in Jackson Wednesday pushing for a change. Here is a tweet with a photo shared by MSU chief communications officer Sid Salter on Wednesday:

– Starkville mayor Lynn Spruill also took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her optimism momentum is building for a state flag change:

– Speaking of Spruill, she spoke with Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger (CLICK HERE FOR DELLENGER'S IN-DEPTH ARTICLE ON THE STATE FLAG CONTROVERSY). Here is what Spruill said in regards to how sports might be what pushes the state of Mississippi to change flags:

“With any luck, sports might be the final straw that breaks the Confederate camel’s back. We’re dealing with the flag and COVID. One of them is a hell of a lot easier to get rid of than the other. Our legislature can do it with one vote.”

– Also, support continued to come in Wednesday for MSU running back Kylin Hill, who Tweeted earlier this week an indication he won't play for the Bulldogs in 2020 if the state flag isn't changed. Here is what MSU linebacker Aaron Brule said in response to those who have been overly critical of Hill:

– MSU softball player Mia Davidson chimed in as well, aiming her words at those who have commented negatively towards Hill:

– Also on Wednesday, Bully Bloc came out in support of changing the state flag. According to its website, Bully Bloc is a non-partisan, political action committee made up of friends and alumni of Mississippi State.