Missouri bill to revoke striking athletes' scholarships withdrawn

Dr. Saturday

Well, this was quick.

A bill pre-filed in the Missouri House of Representatives proposing to give the government the right to revoke a striking athlete's scholarship has been withdrawn two days after it was entered into the house ledger.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Rick Brattin (R), duly received a ton of criticism as soon as it was pre-filed. Athletic scholarships at the University of Missouri are funded through the Tiger Scholarship Fund, which is bankrolled by private donations.

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According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Brattin withdrew the bill without comment. The bill's co-sponsor, Kurt Bahr (R), had this to say, which is all you need to know regarding the amount of research that went into this bill.

Brattin made talk show rounds on Tuesday within the state. He told KTGR in Columbia that Missouri players had an obligation to play football.

"The current events and what took place at MU I hated to see what was going on and kind of an anarchy occurring due to the actions of the football team," Brattin said. "And we had a university that didn’t keep the order within the university and I think that we need to hold those accountable for actions such as this.

"I’m not against people’s First Amendment rights and speaking their minds and doing what they believe is right. But they also had an obligation to play football, and they utilized their position as a football player to go on strike and put the university in a horrible situation. I don’t think that’s good conduct of a football team."

Anarchy is not the right word to describe the Missouri football players' protest. While some – possibly even Brattin himself – disagree with the premise of the protest, the idea was clearly thought out by members of the Missouri football team. And coach Gary Pinkel repeated over and over that he supported his players. The bill was also requested fines for coaches who would support a protest.

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Pinkel retired at the end of the season because of lymphoma. Brattin told KTGR if Pinkel "had acted like a coach and not get political which is exactly what he did, we wouldn't be talking about this right now."

Brattin was also on 610 Sports in Kansas City on Tuesday and curiously revealed he had not spoken to anyone of color regarding the Missouri protests. Missouri players went on strike in support of a graduate student who was hunger striking. The graduate student went on protest amidst increasing racial tension at the university.

In addition to the free speech ramifications, the bill, had it continued in any official capacity, could have raised interesting questions for the NCAA as well as it clearly classified athletes as a different type of student. But Brattin and staff clearly didn't consider all the ramifications of his proposal. If the bill was well-thought-out, it would have made it more than 48 hours, right?

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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