Kansas State launches diversity programs after football boycott

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas State is launching a diversity and education fund amid several other initiatives to address racial injustice after football players threatened a boycott in response to an insensitive tweet by a student about the death of George Floyd.

The fund will allow boosters to funnel money directly to initiatives within the athletic department that "actively seek inclusive and diverse community through educational programming and support of all student-athletes, coaches and staff."

The school also said Wednesday that student-athletes, coaches and staff would undergo mandatory diversity and inclusion training that includes monthly town hall sessions; redoubling efforts to recruit applicants from diverse backgrounds for staff and coaching positions; utilize home games to support the Black Lives Matter movement; highlight Black History Month; and provide transportation to student-athletes to voting locations on Election Day.

Last Thursday, one month after Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on the Black handcuffed man's neck for nearly eight minutes, student Jaden McNeil tweeted: "Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!"

McNeil's tweet has been widely condemned by the university's leadership, including athletic director Gene Taylor and football coach Chris Klieman, as well as players.

Freshman cornerback Tee Denson was among the players to speak out against McNeil's tweet, saying he would "refuse to play for a program that tolerates ignorance such as this."

Senior defensive back Walter Neil Jr. and sophomore wide receiver Joshua Youngblood also tweeted that they would not play for the school unless McNeil is removed from campus.

University officials have said they are exploring their options for action after the tweet.

"We condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms,'' university president Richard Myers said. "Black Lives Matter at Kansas State University and we will continue to fight for social justice."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.