The Kansas State football program is a mess right now, thanks to a social media post by one student that has brought about outrage and a total boycott by members of the school's football team.
Kansas State student Jaden McNeil, a junior in political science and president of America First Students at K-State, posted a series of Twitter late last week, including one that was deemed racist and insensitive by members of the community.
The tweet, which stated that GeorgeFloyd, the Black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis, Minnesota police officers last month that read "Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug-free for an entire month!"
Previously unknown, McNeil has now gained celebrity status, though not in the way he might have intended when he released the comment.
Kansas State football players, including All-American kick returner and wide receiver Joshua Youngblood, almost immediately denounced their fellow student's comments.
“Due to the recent disparaging, insensitive, and unsettling comments made by a fellow student, we as a football team, after consultation with students from campus organizations and as well as students from the general student body, feel it is best for us to stand with the students,” Youngblood's statement begins. “We are demanding that Kansas State University put a policy in place that allows a student to be dismissed for displaying openly racist, threatening or disrespectful actions toward a student or groups of students. We have resolved that we cannot play, practice, or meet until these demands are heard and actions taken. We love Kansas State but we must stand together and protect all students moving forward,”
Youngblood shared his comment via his Twitter account.
Since McNeil's comments can to light, multiple members of both the Wildcats football and basketball teams have publicly stated that they would not participate in any team activities until McNeil is removed from the university.
University President Richard Myers issued in part, the following statement on Friday.
"The insensitive comments posted by one K-State student hurts our entire community. These divisive statements do not represent the values of our university. We condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms. We are launching an immediate review of the university's options."
Some coaches, including men's basketball coach Bruce Weber, have taken to social media to support their players.
Vanderbilt is scheduled to take on the Wildcats in Manhattan Sept. 19, and while this issue will have likely been put to rest by that time, it is still a distraction for the Wildcats program.
However, what might happen if McNeil is not removed from the university?
While not defending McNeil's offensive comment, the fact that this is a first amendment issue, things could turn to the legal process should the university move to expel him for his comment.
Kansas State officials would no doubt like for this issue to work itself out in short order, and it will be worth following what transpires in the coming days.