The Gophers football team announced Thursday it would boycott all athletic activities and the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl, if needed, to protest the university's decision to suspend 10 players as a result of a September sexual assault allegation.
Gophers coach Tracy Claeys showed support for his players by tweeting “Have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world!”
Many supporters of the program shared the same sentiment across social media, while others spoke out against the team's decision to demand the players be reinstated.
The reaction from coaches:
Head coach Tracy Claeys
Have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world! 〽️��— GoldenGopherHFC (@GoldenGopherHFC) December 16, 2016
Assistant/linebackers coach Mike Sherels
Proud coach tonight! #gophers— Mike Sherels (@MikeSherels) December 16, 2016
Defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel
I have always been proud of our players at Minnesota - and forever will be !!!!— Jay Sawvel (@JaySawvel) December 16, 2016
I have always been proud of our players at Minnesota - and forever will be !!!!
— Jay Sawvel (@JaySawvel) December 16, 2016
The reaction from Star Tribune readers on Facebook:
Kenny Jones: "I don't think I've ever been more proud of a football team."
Ryan Van Haaften: "The players have demonstrated they don't comprehend the student code of conduct may hold them to a higher level of accountability than the law. Which is odd because football done right is all about accountability. Coach is an Xs and Os guy and Kill set the culture, which from all accounts was pretty good. Claeys wasn't/isn't in the business of molding young men."
Mark Mischke: "The Holiday Bowl committee will rescind their offer and we can say goodbye to any future bowl hopes in the near future."
Robert Wold: "Good. I'm glad due process is making a come back."
John Jirik: "Playing football is a privilege not a right! Cancel all scholarships and give them to kids that want an education."
Darcy Anderson: "We all have choices and consequences that come with those choices. We don't know all the details of what prompted the suspensions, but the university obviously uncovered conduct it does not expect from its student athletes. If the team wants to go "all in" and refuse to participate in football activities, they should have taken off the jerseys they were wearing and left them on the floor of the multi million dollar facility they held the press conference in. I'm sure there are several other football teams that could adjust their schedule at the last minute for a bowl game. The boys could then go home and spend the holidays with their families. Choices and consequences."
Response on Twitter:
I stand with the Minnesota Gophers!— Life Of A Vikes Fan (@SkolBros) December 16, 2016
If Minnesota caves on this, it's telling its student population that a football game means more than protecting them from sexual assault.— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) December 16, 2016
I'd be more impressed with the Minnesota players threatening to boycott if their 10 teammates were being allowed to play.— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) December 16, 2016
I support the #Gophers football players. Great to see such a United Front by them against what appears (based on what I know) an injustice— Brad (@Bam2) December 16, 2016
The Minnesota kids overestimate their leverage & wayyy overestimate their legal understanding. All to protest a sexual assault investigation— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) December 16, 2016
Minnesota administration has to stand its ground. If it caves, administrators' power is forever stripped.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) December 16, 2016
1. Re Minnesota football: The standard for a criminal prosecution and the standard for a school to impose discipline are not the same.— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) December 16, 2016
Finally, making a statement through support for the Gophers volleyball team:
NOW THIS IS A GOPHERS TEAM TO BE PROUD OF https://t.co/n9lDKa0jhz— Angela Vang (@angvaj) December 16, 2016