Grambling State University football team agreed to end the strike. Therefore, a homecoming game and the Bayou Classic is still on this fall.
Imagine if the G-Men’s demonstration would have extended. That would mean more canceled games, more canceled halftime shows from the World Famed Tiger Marching Band, the cheerleaders and the Orchesis would be missed from dancing on the field, and Grambling will continually be hit with economical dents such as the possible $20,000 fine from not playing the Jackson State University game.
If Grambling’s football team and the administration didn’t resolve their dispute and agree to end the strike, the remainder of the season would have been eliminated.
“The football team took a stance on what we thought was right,” the G-Men’s spokesman Naquan Smith said during a 3:00 p.m. press conference outside of the Eddie Robinson Museum on Monday. “We did not quit on our university. There are many problems that exist and if no one says anything, nothing will become of our institution. We hope coach Eddie Robinson and his legendary players appreciate we took a stand and thought we were right.”
Smith said that the team met with some Grambling Legends and an important person. They later agreed unanimously to play football.
The football team returned to practice Monday without any disciplinary action.
The cancelation of football would sure be a culture shock for some GSU students.
“Yes, I’m happy that the football team is off strike,” said Devonta Johnson, sophomore nursing major from Lafayette.
Johnson, who also plays the baritone for in the World Famed Tiger Marching Band, added, “It’s like now things are getting back to the norm.”
Grambling’s band holds a prominent name worldwide, and also contributes to the culture of Grambling just like the football.
University president of three years, Frank Pogue, told ESPN, “Grambling is the institution when it comes to athletics.”
Grambling has sent over 300 players to the NFL, which is more than any other university. But, most athletes played under the late Eddie Robinson. Robinson’s last season was in 1998.
According to Pogue’s statements on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, football is the norm in Grambling and without it would be a culture-less institution.
With the G-Men’s decision to play, Smith added that they will still remember the chain of events that led to boycott.
“Although we are going to continue our season, we have not forgotten our situation,” said Smith at Monday’s press conference.
As of now the situation at GSU is still unpleasant, literally. Despite the Department of Health and Hospitals reporting that Grambling athletic facilities are up to code on Oct. 7, the players are not satisfied with the treatment they received from the school’s administration.
According to a letter the G-Men sent to ESPN, the players are dissatisfied not only with the poor conditions of the facilities and equipment, but also the lack of support.
“Equipment in the weight room is falling apart, as well as workout benches are tearing and ripping apart,” the letter states. “We as student- athletes would also like better detergent for our uniforms and practice uniforms. The uniforms are poorly cleaned and contribute to the multiple cases if staph infection. Several players have been infected with staph multiple times.”
Also, the letter states that the team is not happy with the lack of support shown by the administration during such a time of adversity.
Two games into the season, former head coach Doug Williams was fired. Players complained that it took several weeks for the administration to express sympathy for the team’s situation.
“The football team was not addressed and received no sign of compassion from administration until over a month later,” the letter states.
Pogue said the university would continue support the football team and work is already scheduled to be done to improve conditions of the athletic facilities.