Football boycott to end despite continued demands for answers, safe facilities

BY newsdesk  October 21, 2013 at 4:05 PM EDT

Creative commons photo via flickr user Kaleb Fulgham

After refusing to play Saturday’s game against Jackson State because of ongoing safety and health issues, Grambling State’s football players are returning to practice after their former coach urged them to “go out there and play football”.

Why boycott? The Louisiana-based players were protesting long distance travels, a lack of food on the road and the recent firing of Coach Doug Williams. ESPN reported there were important health concerns as well: mold in the locker room and poorly cleaned uniforms contributing to an increased likelihood of staph infections. Broken tiles and other problems in the weight room creating dangerous, accident-prone situations.
In a statement Monday, team representative Naquan Smith said players reached out to several people in the community, including Baton Rouge businessman Jim Bernhard, for help with their concerns.

Smith said Bernhard told the players that “he would ensure we had updated facilities, but we had to agree to being back practicing Monday…and finish the remainder of our season.

Grambling’s had a rough season — currently 0-8 — and a university spokesman said the traditionally black institution has faced a 57 percent cut in state funding over several years.

H/T Cindy Huang