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Football player who helped force the resignation of a university president graduated from Varnett

One of the University of Missouri football players who announced they would go on strike unless the university president resigned is a former Varnett student,  Ms. Voltz, the East Campus director, said Wednesday.

J’Mon Moore and his Missouri Tigers teammates returned to practice Tuesday following the resignation of UM System President Tim Wolfe, who came under heavy criticism for his handling of racist incidents on campus.

“J’Mon graduated from my fifth-grade class,” Ms. Voltz said. “He was an honor student who had leadership qualities.”  Ms. Voltz was a 5th grade teacher at the Southwest Campus in 2006 when J’Mon earned his certificate that enabled him to be promoted to junior high school.

Missouri players didn't recognize how much power they had

Wolfe tendered his resignation Monday amid growing protests over what critics said was his inaction in addressing racist incidents. Several hours later, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned as well. Black student leaders on campus had conveyed their displeasure over students openly using racial slurs and committing racist acts.

Campus students had been demonstrating for weeks for Wolfe's ouster. But the announcement by players to boycott practice and this Saturday's game was called by many to be tipping point that forced Wolfe's hand.

J'Mon's football stats

According to the New York Daily News, hundreds of Mizzou students held a rally Tuesday to applaud Wolfe’s resignation and to thank the football players and graduate student Jonathan Butler, whose hunger strike helped to spark the team’s “unprecedented student action.”

The Kansas City Star reported that J’Mon, a Missouri sophomore wide receiver, had heard about the hunger strike. J’Mon wanted to learn more so he sought out Butler, who had been fasting since Nov. 2.

“I was looking for John and saw John and we had a pretty good conversation,” J'Mon said. “I made some promises.”

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Other teammates became involved and it was announced that the Tigers’ black football players would not participate in football-related activities until Wolfe was gone. The remaining teammates, including white players, and coach Gary Pinkel were apprised of the situation Saturday and pledged their support, the Star reported.

The University of Missouri faced forfeiting $1 million if it did not honor its contract to play Brigham Young University on Saturday.

Even if the Missouri Tigers lose against BYU, they've already won

Ms. Voltz recalled attending one of J’Mon’s football games while he was a student at Varnett.

“I was very impressed with the defensive moves he and his teammates demonstrated at the age of 10,” Ms. Voltz said. “I knew at that time that he would continue his academic and athletic abilities into college.”

She added that she is proud of him for taking a stand on civil rights.

“The students at the University of Missouri used non-violent ways to make changes," Ms. Voltz said.  "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be elated to know his methods are still effective today for equal rights without resorting to violence.”

Photos:

J'Mon Moore graduating from Varnett

J'Mon Moore #6 of the Missouri Tigers pulls in a pass for a touchdown against Michael Ford #4 of the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri. Source: Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America)

New York Times photo: Three members of the Missouri football team, J'Mon Moore, Ian Simon and Charles Harris, are surrounded by supporters of the student protest group Concerned Student 1950 as they speak to reporters.

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