ESPN to Honor 2015 Mizzou Football Team

Dave Matter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 19, 2016

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The sports network announced Friday that the 2015 Missouri football team will be honored at next month’s second annual Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards in Los Angeles presented by ESPN. The event will take place July 12 at The Conga Room at L.A. Live. Hosted by Laila Ali, the event will be featured on a 30-minute program on ESPN July 15 at 6 p.m.

The Mizzou football team will be awarded the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award in honor of the late ESPN broadcaster who died of cancer last year. The award “celebrates someone that has taken risk and used an innovative approach to helping the disadvantaged through the power of sports,” the network announced. Former tennis player Billie Jean King and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will also receive the award. The honorees will be able to direct a $50,000 grant from ESPN to the qualified charity related to the award-winning humanitarian efforts.

Here’s ESPN explanation for the Missouri football team’s inclusion in this year’s program:

“Racial tensions were becoming increasingly strained at the University of Missouri last fall. Frustrations gave rise to protests–one of the most notable coming when a student at the school began a hunger strike. Students were demanding action, and the Mizzou Tigers football team stepped in and announced that they would boycott their upcoming game unless changes were made. The players took a huge risk–their scholarships could have been revoked and their futures hung in the balance. But their actions indicated it was a risk worth taking to help bring action to this critical issue.”

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