When I first heard that the football players walked out of a team meeting where the school administrators (the president and athletics director) spoke, I thought what most people thought. Those are some spoiled-ass football players. The inmates were trying to run the asylum. If they didn’t want their former coach (Doug Williams) fired, then they should have played better and quit their bitching.
Then I read the letter the players wrote to administration to explain their complaints. It was basically explained what led to the boycott, and what I read was nothing short of frightening. Aside from team being upset about the firing of Williams, there were the long bus trips to Kansas City and Indianapolis – y’all read that right, FROM LOUISIANA to Kansas City and Indianapolis. And not surprisingly, the football team got its ass kicked for both games – think those kids were a WEE bit tired after those long bus rides?
There’s more. Players have been complaining for some time that Gatorade and the supplement Muscle Milk were not supplied during summer camp or workouts. That’s right folks, the players had to BUY THEIR OWN GATORADE because the administration did not provide those drinks to them – in the summer (in Louisiana!!)!
There were some photos the players sent with the letter, and those photos told the story about how poor the athletic facilities. There were mold and mildew on equipment, namely the weights and practice pads. Other photos show floors from the facility’s weight-training room missing wide sections of its rubberized floor tiles, and torn and tattered covers to some of the room’s weightlifting benches.
Things were so bad that they had a health inspector look at the facilities.
Now while I do not think the players did the right thing in forfeiting their game with Jackson State, I did think that the players had to let their voices be heard in the letter sent to administration. I thought the players would have used this as a moment to come together by cleaning the facilities and taking care of each other. Could you imagine the overwhelming support those players would have received from fans, the media and the public at-large? The boosters and alumni association would have rallied those kids. In that scenario, the administrators at Grambling would not have a choice but to do right by those student athletes.
Instead the football players share the blame and shame with the administration in what is wrong with Grambling State University. Eddie Robinson must be rolling in his grave.