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Ex-player: Pinkel supported protest for recruiting purposes

Former Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe appeared on ESPN Radio 104.5 in Baton Rouge on Tuesday and told host Matt Moscona he believes Tigers coach Gary Pinkel supported his player’s protest – in part – for recruiting reasons.

“I think (Pinkel) had no choice (other than supporting his African-American players’ protest) because if he ever wanted to recruit another African-American player and he didn’t stand behind those guys – you’ll never do it again,” Moe told Moscona on the “After Further Review” show. “Good luck pulling a guy out of Louisiana – anybody in the South – that has experienced any type of racism. If they don’t think their head coach is going to be standing behind them in college, you’re never going to get them to campus, so he didn’t have a choice.”

What would Moe, a white player, have done if he still were a player for the Tigers?

“You didn’t have a choice at that point because Gary Pinkel stood behind (the protesting players) and said, ‘This is what we’re doing,’ “Moe said. “I would have wanted to play – not that I didn’t want to stand with my guys, those are all my best friends in the locker room. There are 127 guys on a team, they’re my best friends, but that doesn’t mean I wanted to stop playing football because stopping playing football, what you were doing, was calling for a man’s job who I didn’t see was at fault.”

Moe, who was at Mizzou from 2009-12, wonders what actual change this protest will bring.

“I’m not against protesting. I realize any change in America doesn’t come without great sacrifice. The football players were willing to sacrifice their last three games,” Moe said. “Yes, it brought awareness, but just because a protest works to bring awareness, doesn’t mean anything actually happens. OK, we fired somebody – in fact we fired two people – but what has changed now? You’re probably going to replace a middle-aged white man with another middle-aged white man.  We’re going to run into a lot of the same issues if we’re not making legitimate changes.”

Moe continued to challenge the popular narratives about the story during the interview.

“Just going after somebody’s job – protesting to fire somebody – it scares me,” Moe said. “Would you want to be a leader in today’s world? Regardless of fault, if you’re overseeing people right now and they do something wrong, you’re immediately at fault and you’re collateral damage.

“We don’t hold that across the board because, if so, then the President of the United States should not be in his position, the Governor shouldn’t be in his position, any mayor of a city shouldn’t be in their position because there’s been a lot of murders that have happened under their watch. We don’t even give people a chance to make changes. Yes, it raised awareness, but, still, we’ve done nothing.”

To listen to the complete interview with T.J. Moe on ESPN Radio 104.5 in Baton Rouge, click here.

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