Posted October 21, 2013

Report: Grambling State football players to return to field, finish season

Grambling State Tigers
Grambling State players refused to board the buses for their game against Jackson State on Saturday.

Grambling State players refused to board the buses for their game Saturday. (Sean Isabella/The News-Star/AP)

The drama surrounding the Grambling State football team could be coming to an end. Grambling players said in a statement that the team will return to practice on Monday and finish out the season, Matt Vines of the Shreveport (La.) Times reports.

In a letter dated Oct. 20, senior defensive back Naquan Smith said the decision came after the team’s former coach Doug Williams, who was fired on Sept. 11, told the players to return to the field.

As part of the athletic program at Grambling State University, the football team, took a stance on what we thought was right. We did not quit on our university. There are many problems that exist and if no one says anything, nothing will come of our institution. We hope Coach Eddie Robinson and his legendary players can appreciate that we stood up for what we thought was right. After coming into contact with different sources, we decided to reach out to the one person we trusted, Coach Doug Williams, with our concerns. His main statement to us was, “Go out there and play football.” He also put us in contact with Jim Bernhard out of Baton Rouge. A meeting was held with Mr. Bernhard as well as, Douglas Porter, Ezil Bibbs, Roy Jackson, Henry Dyer and Howard Davis. The meeting confirmed him [Jim Bernhard] as being committed with our best intentions at heart and that he would ensure we had updated facilities, but we had to agree to being back practicing Monday, October 21 and finish the remainder of our season.

Last Tuesday, university officials met with Grambling’s football team to show support for the FCS Southwestern Athletic Conference program, which had lost 17 straight games  and had already fired Williams. Members of the team voiced their displeasure in the school’s treatment of players and the health and safety of the Grambling facilities, among other issues, SI.com’s George Dohrmann reported.

On Friday, Grambling fired interim coach George Ragsdale and replaced him with defensive coordinator Dennis Winston, the school’s third head coach in five weeks. The team did not play its regularly scheduled game against Jackson State on Saturday as part of the players’ protest.

Though the team has opted to return to the field, Smith said the foundation of its protest has not been forgotten.

Although we are going to continue our season, we have not forgotten the situation and how we’ve gotten here. We would like to say thank you to Coach Williams, the Legends and Mr. Jim Bernhard. Grambling has given us the opportunity to be a part of its legacy and we are only looking to improve conditions for the university and future student-athletes.

31 comments
RTR
RTR

Wonder how they will feel when Grambling cannot pay them a "stipend" like the D1 schools with money.

Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

This is great news for their dozens of fans.

Blinker
Blinker

Who cares????  I'm sure the school that had their homecoming ruined will forgive them.  I remember when football was a tough sport for tough athletes.  To good to ride a bus?????  Don't play b*tches.......

playLIKEyourFAKEfianceJUSTdied
playLIKEyourFAKEfianceJUSTdied

and the best is Doug Williams and Grambling football alumni came up with cash for equipment, and the school administration confiscated it because "it did not go through proper channels"........

yep.....someone has it out for Lousiana's state school system in Baton Rouge

tfaw
tfaw

seems like the school just does not have adequate resources to fund a football team, so the best option is to kill the program.  many other schools have done the same to save dollars.

Wesley7
Wesley7

"Grambling State football players to return to field"

 A field, which the school announced, will now be a 200'x187' lot behind the school's power facility--a significant upgrade from their previous practice location, a series of 16 unused parking spaces in the student union lot. The school also announced it will remove most litter from the lot prior to giving over to the football team in a gesture of good faith, but players will be required to remove any old wood palettes and a family of possums currently living in an upturned trashcan on the site themselves.

swededawg52
swededawg52

What a bunch of babies.  I'd kicked them all off the team and cancel any scholarships.  Their attitude is pathetic as their win/loss record.

DrMatthewTaylor
DrMatthewTaylor

Wow, a university held hostage by a sports team with what, a 1-18 record? I'd release all of the players from their one year contracts at the end of the spring semester and start fresh with student-athletes who understand abiding by contractual and verbal obligations.

Anaximenes1
Anaximenes1

the state need to give grambling a lot more money---they got their budget cut to much by repubilcans in the government--i'm tired of this

BillPeterson
BillPeterson

They took a principled stand and made a strong statement. Hopefully, the administration will listen to their concerns, but I doubt it. 

David138
David138

They should hire Doug back at least to finish the season.

Cool
Cool

Talk about a story that leaves you hanging and shows that whoever was assigned to write it didn't give a dang!   Who is this Bernhardt , the man who seems to have moved the team along?  What did he promise them?  Did anyone at SI do 20 seconds of research?  

playLIKEyourFAKEfianceJUSTdied
playLIKEyourFAKEfianceJUSTdied

@swededawg52 well isn't that what the problem with college athletics.......worried about win/loss record and not teaching these kids the right thing.....which is of course that they deserve better

jf714inoh
jf714inoh

@DrMatthewTaylor Pity that the college doesn't understand contractual and verbal obligations. Good for the players.

ILoveMyWife
ILoveMyWife

So they should be forced to work in unsafe conditions (moldy locker room which could kill someone) and money donated to the football team should be confiscated by the administration?  Exactly what kind of doctor are you?

Cool
Cool

@DrMatthewTaylor You got that right!  It is definitely the players fault that they have that kind of record. Coaching, facilities provided, nutrition have nothing to do with their poor performance. That's right, it is just a bunch of whiny kids.. sell them all... I mean take their scholarships away... and go to another auction and get yourself some good.. I mean do better recruiting.  Yes Dr Matthew Taylor.. you are a freaking genius!


swededawg52
swededawg52

@Anaximenes1 You should also blame the Republicans - that because they have cut so much money that it affected your ability to write in proper english.  Remember, the mantra - blame somebody else for your own inadequacies.

GERALDK
GERALDK

@playLIKEyourFAKEfianceJUSTdied @swededawg52 These kids deserved what they ask for no scholarship and no education. They went their to play football on a scholarship and new the conditions before going. So its time to grow up and be a man and shutup and play or go own and cry to mommy all good little girls

swededawg52
swededawg52

@Cool @DrMatthewTaylor ...let's inject race of course.  Someone needs to be on the sidelines to blow their noses and wipe their tear stained cheeks because they might even get hit while playing a game called football.  

BillPeterson
BillPeterson

@swededawg52 @Anaximenes1 Well, since Republican legislatures and governors have a long history of gouging education, your sarcastic (and also grammatically incorrect point) is more accurate than you think. 

James C
James C

@GERALDK @playLIKEyourFAKEfianceJUSTdied @swededawg52 


Are you sure they knew the conditions when they choose to go to Grambling State University? Do schools really show off old moldy locker room facilities to the potential student athletes when they are recruiting them? 

Did the players sign up to play for 4 or 5 coaches in the span of their college career?  


There is a lot about this that goes much deeper than a few football games. From what I've read the mold problem in the locker room facilities was so bad players were becoming ill and were forced to change outside the locker room. Mold can KILL if a person has a negative reaction to it. There are a lot of issues that someone had to stand up against, and these players took a stand knowing full well that a certain portion of the population would call them crybabies and the like. It's a good thing not everyone in this country has decided not to stand up against what they felt was wrong. If they had taken the "we don't want to be considered crybabies a lot would be different in this country. We wouldn't have to worry about white students and minority students working together because they would be in separate schools. We wouldn't need to worry about black students getting into white southern schools because most of the blacks would still be working on farms. History is littered with people who have stood up for what they felt was right, and we remember them. We don't remember those who decided to do nothing because they didn't want to be branded a "crybaby". 

Cool
Cool

@swededawg52 @Cool @DrMatthewTaylor My suggestion of the players being treated like slaves was not introducing race to the debate.  Slaves have been used and abused for thousands of years and many were not black.. but it you are ignorant I can see where you might not be aware of that.  No matter how much you don't want to accept it, the school is using these boys to generate money for the school, and then are taking away monies collected and putting it elsewhere.  These players are just saying that they have had enough of being treated like dirt and yet expected to perform.   The only nose blowing I am aware of is you on the sidelines crying that these players protested.