The University of Missouri has woken up America to realize the potential of its athletes. And, from what I'm understanding, people are scared.
Hunger strikes and hundreds of students protesting for months sends a strong message. But when a group of athletes come together to make a statement? Game over.
For too long, athletes have operated in the militaristic fashion of the coach telling the players what to do, and the players having to abide. If they don't, they will either be kicked off the team or have their scholarships revoked.
No matter what these athletes would deal with, whether it's extreme bullying, emotional abuse, or even physical abuse, they have to "suck it up." If they speak up about it, they are told to "man up" and "get over it." All they can do at this point is to keep it hidden deep down, telling nobody and hoping the torture doesn't get too bad.
However, times are changing. Athletes are beginning to realize they have a voice. Not only with the proliferation of video clips that can get coaches fired, they're starting to realize they have political power. The Missouri athletes were willing to forfeit their game and lose the university $1 million. I'm sure the board of directors in their closed door meeting gave the president no other option but to step down.
If one athlete said he wouldn't play, then he would be ostracized and possibly kicked off the team. But, when 30 players come together, nothing can be done. This is why athletes must come together for other issues. If athletes are getting bullied or dealing with any other horrible situation, they need to come together. They need to make a stand for the issue until it is rectified. It's sad, but it seems schools only understand and wake up when they start to lose money from a situation.
Athletes have so much more power than they realize. If basketball players refused to participate in the NCAA March Madness, I'm sure whatever issue they stood for would be updated pretty quickly. It's only a matter of coming together and improving these injustices.