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What coaches should take from the Missouri football protest

The Missouri protest story was not a football story. The tension that resulted in this week's upheaval began days, weeks, months and years before the football team announced its strike on Saturday night. It took but a few hours Monday for the story to move beyond the sports page.

The Mizzou football team did not start the struggle to remove MU system president Tim Wolfe from his post, it did end it.

That's a powerful statement on the power college football players hold in their collective hands, and a message coaches should not ignore.

Thankfully, those in the profession thrusted into these precarious positions have listened, openly and intently.

Gary Pinkel stood with his players throughout their three-day strike. Bob Stoops did the same when Oklahoma's campus erupted in racial tension this spring.

"I was listening to [the players] and allowing them to express themselves in a manner in which they felt they needed to," Stoops said Monday.

"I was just communicating with them on what they felt needed to happen. Wanted to be supportive and do your best to let them know how much you understood what they were going through and what they needed to express. It was very, very difficult. Very tough to work through, really."

Here's Les Miles from yesterday as well:

In the two instances we've seen this year, Stoops and Pinkel have provided an example to other coaches of how to lead - openly, decisively, and fairly - when their locker room becomes the epicenter of a political earthquake.

Which is good, because more are probably coming.

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