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In protesting, Missouri football players harnessed the power of teamwork.

College football players don't have much leverage, but these student-athletes used theirs for good.

In protesting, Missouri football players harnessed the power of teamwork.

Over the weekend, the University of Missouri football team won a significant victory off the field.

Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images.


What exactly did they do? They stood together with a grad student named Jonathan Butler, who went on a hunger strike to protest school leadership.

On Nov. 2, Butler sent a letter to school curators calling for the firing of school president Tim Wolfe. In the letter, Butler rattled off a list of injustices he believed weren't being taken seriously by school leadership. It reads in part:

"In the past 90 days alone we have seen the MSA President Payton Head being called the n-word on campus, graduate students being robbed of their health insurance, Planned Parenthood services being stripped from campuses, #ConcernedStudent1950 peaceful demonstrators being threatened with pepper spray, and a matter of days ago a vile and disgusting act of hatred where a MU student drew a swastika in the Gateway residential hall with their own feces."

While University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin acknowledged Butler's protest, no firm actions were laid out in response.

Jonathan Butler leads a rally earlier today. Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images.

And this is where the football team comes in.

On Saturday evening, Mizzou football players went on strike, vowing to boycott football-related activities until Butler's conditions were met.

Members of the team posted a picture with Butler to the school's Legion of Black Collegians Twitter account, announcing their protest.

"The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We will no longer participate in any football-related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students' experiences. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!"

This is the same team that stood by teammate Michael Sam after he came out as gay prior to the 2013 season — so taking a stand on social issues isn't entirely out of the ordinary.

And yesterday afternoon, Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel posted his own update, pledging support to the striking athletes.

So why does this matter? Well...

If the school forfeits this Saturday's game against Brigham Young University, it will lose $1 million in the process.

Last year, the Kansas City Star reported that the University of Missouri's football program accounted for a $14.5 million surplus. According to the Washington Post, forfeiting a single game would cost the school $1 million just for breach of contract between Mizzou and BYU.

With millions of dollars on the line, school officials no longer had the luxury of being able to kick this issue down the road. They needed to take concrete actions, and fast.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

By coming together as a team, Mizzou's football squad was able to generate leverage for Butler's protest.

For the most part, college athletics aren't exactly known for being the most player-friendly venues. The risk of injury runs high, the odds of playing professionally remains low, and despite being a multibillion-dollar industry, none of that money makes its way to the players.

But this? This was different.

As individuals, these students didn't have the power to force the school's hand. If it were only a handful of players sitting out — and if the coaching staff didn't have their backs — it would have been as simple as playing someone off the bench in each of their places.

By joining together in solidarity with Butler and each other, they sent shock waves through the school.

Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.

Once faculty members, politicians, and students joined, Wolfe was left with little choice but to resign.

Ignoring the protest of a single student? That's easy, unfortunately. Ignoring the protest of students, teachers, athletes, coaches, and politicians? That's much, much harder to do. And ignoring the prospect of a major financial hit if action isn't taken? That's just about impossible.

This morning, Tim Wolfe announced his resignation as president of the University of Missouri. This morning, we were reminded of the power of protest and what actions can result.

Congratulations to the students, teachers, and athletes of the University of Missouri for believing in change.

Jonathan Butler and those who stood with him stand victorious today. Here's hoping today's announcement helps bring a close to an era marred by racism and a failure of leadership.

They successfully pushed Wolfe out of power, but that's not a permanent fix. It'll take the school's new leadership actively working to end the on-campus culture of racism that's existed for some time. It's good to know the students will be there, ready to apply pressure as needed.

Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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