Pinkel and Rhoades speak.
(Point deduction for "University of Mizzou," Mack.)
Some quick thoughts on the statements by Rhoades, Pinkel, and the players.
1. Rhoades and Pinkel leaned very hard on the "saving a life" part while trying to distance themselves from Tim Wolfe's firing/resignation. That was a pretty political move, one that makes perfect sense. Pinkel probably didn't feel he knew enough about the situation on his own (he admitted that he is 100% football during football season), so he didn't feel comfortable saying "I wanted Wolfe out" or "I support all of CS1950's demands" or whatever. (He also might not have actually supported all of their demands or wanted Wolfe out.) And since he absolutely, positively had to support his players in this situation (the degree was up to him), then he found the piece that anybody could lean on -- saving a life by ending a hunger strike -- and leaned hard on it. Really, really hard.
This is a valid, if tenuous, view to take. The problem is, in a press conference setting -- and a giant press conference setting at that -- that means you're going to be saying the same words over and over. And it's going to get awkward after a while. It's going to look like you either underestimated or are simply not acknowledging the power of the position your team just took. I'm betting Pinkel very much understands that power, but like a presidential candidate (and a head coach definitely has to act like a politician at times), he had to lean on sound bytes instead of completely opening up about his opinions on the matter.
Again, it makes perfect sense. Gabe from PowerMizzou was appalled by it, as were others I'm sure, but this was a no-win press conference for Pinkel. To my eyes, he battled it to a draw, and that was probably the best result he was going to get.
2. With this much media around, the way the players handled this was pretty tricky, too, but I think they pulled it off. For a while, it looked like they were shunning media every bit as much as Concerned Student 1950 is, but as media scattered throughout campus and the athletic facility, it became pretty clear that the students were wanting to present a unified front with only a few players speaking select words. Once those words came out, and once a few players spoke at least a little bit, both their intent and their message became clear. And it was a pretty decent message.
(That Joe Strauss, the worst columnist in the country, was able to completely ignore reality and write a "Pinkel shielded his players by not letting them speak!" column last night, which I will not in a million years link to, was both amazing and predictable.)
3. As it pertains to Concerned Student 1950 and its shunning and hostility toward media ... I'm fascinated by it. They came into this thing with the belief that the media cannot help them (or doesn't need to), so they haven't played the game. That's bad because it has prevented some from doing a good job of telling their story. But it could also have massive implications because ... well ... they really might not actually need the media. Shunning media can result in bad p.r., but they've used social media for their own p.r.
This could backfire horribly ... but we don't know that it will yet. (To say the least, it's going to backfire horribly on the communications professor asking for muscle, but that's all we know for sure.)
4. As Andy Staples, Dan Wetzel and others have mentioned, whether it was the intent or not, these last few days have proven just how incredibly powerful football players and football teams are when it comes to enacting change by refusing to play. That could make the next few years pretty interesting. We're all just taking guesses as to what this ends up meaning, but ... it could mean a lot.
Regardless, for now, we now move back toward talking about sports.
After this link dump, anyway.
The Trib: MU players speak on the end to their boycott
The Trib: Mizzou chancellor also forced out, just hours after resignation of UM president amid campus protests
Post-Dispatch: Michael Sam on boycotts, Wolfe and what's next for Mizzou
Post-Dispatch: At Mizzou, emotions boil and uncoil
Sporting News: Kellen Winslow, Wes Kemp on Missouri culture, football and progress
PowerMizzou: A timeline of change
Back to work
Another easy exhibition
No dance for the soccer team
ICYMI from Friday: