Oklahoma football players said they would hold a silent protest on Owen Field on Thursday instead of practicing to take a stand against racism on the heels of a video showing members of OU's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity participating in a racist chant that went viral last weekend.
The Sooners football team was scheduled to practice twice this week but postponed those practices and won't return to the field until after spring break on Monday, March 23. The Sooners players promised to use their media opportunities to "address this issue" and wear black when spring practices resume.
In the statement, the Sooners football team took a united stance against racism and stated a goal of raising awareness of racism and discrimination on college campuses nationwide.
"These type of incidents occur nationwide every single year and our hope is to shed light on this issue and promote meaningful change on a national level," the statement said. "But before we can change the nation, we make it our mission to change our campus."
The university also released a statement Thursday saying that Oklahoma president David Boren plans to meet with the football team's captains and athletic director Joe Castiglione on March 23.
"He has also charged the vice president of student affairs, Clarke Stroud, to investigate each individual officer of the fraternity to determine their level of responsibility and to make recommendations on appropriate disciplinary action," the statement said.
The players' statement also called upon the university to continue to investigate the executive board of SAE because "the leadership was responsible for the culture created and, in this case, encouraged" the actions in the video.
After the video leaked online on Sunday, Boren closed the SAE house on the OU campus on Monday and then expelled two students on Tuesday.
The players called for the university to pursue discipline against members of the fraternity's executive board.
"The two students that have already been expelled are only a symptom of a larger disease, a disease perpetuated by the leadership of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon. The chant was not invented by the two that led it, but was taught to underclassmen by people of higher authority. As a team, we have come to a consensus that, in any organization, the leadership is responsible for the culture created and, in this case, encouraged.
"Being a student at the University of Oklahoma is a privilege, and allowing this culture to thrive is against everything it means to be a Sooner. Ignorance is no excuse. Therefore, we would like to urge the university to continue to investigate the executive board of SAE, and we trust that this investigation has already begun. It is our passionately expressed desire as members of the football team for the leadership of SAE to be expelled, suspended, or otherwise disciplined severely," the players said in the statement.