Ad Spot

OPINION: The Ole Miss Family knows no limits

“This is my hometown, not their town.”  

“A lot of them aren’t from Oxford, they can go home! LEAVE!!” 

“They need to stay quiet and play football.” 

These are just a few of the more than 200 Facebook comments left on a recent story about Ole Miss football players releasing a video and hosting a Saturday rally to advocate for the removal of the Confederate monument on the Square. 

Scrolling through the comments section, there are people many would be ashamed to include in the Ole Miss fan base. 

As graduates and fans alike, we often talk about the “Ole Miss Family.” We look out for each other – whether it’s inviting a stranger to your Grove tent for some shade on game day, or helping a student pay for books or tuition when they’re hit with hard times.  

It is a family, and like a family, we look out for each other and love each other, no matter what. The Ole Miss family doesn’t exist only when we all get along – it’s a constant, and it’s for life.  

And right now, vital members of that family are hurting, and they’re being told, “We don’t want you here.”  

One of the more malformed arguments from those against the football players speaking out is, “If they leave, Oxford will be like it was before the students invaded.” Oxford as we know it today, with all its entertainment and innovation and vibrancy, would not exist without the revenue brought in by Ole Miss Athletics, chiefly its football program. 

From 2010 to 2017 (the most recent year data was available), travelers’ spending in Oxford increased from about $85 million in fiscal year 2010, to about $174 million in fiscal year 2017, according to the Travel and Tourism Economic Contribution Report by the Mississippi Development Authority. The 2017 total is an increase from $153 million in 2016. This spending has a “noticeable spike” during football season, according to a report from the University. 

UM also stated that those funds are reinvested in efforts to bolster tourism in the city, provide security and equip law enforcement officers to handle large crowds. The funds have also been used for recreation facilities, such as mTrade Park, which bring in tourism dollars by hosting state and regional tournaments.  

And yet… There are people in the LOU Community and beyond who genuinely seem to believe we’d be better off without the young men who draw crowds to our town for seven weekends every year. 

It seems many in our community love the football team when they’re on the field, performing for the masses. They have no problem cheering for them or encouraging them to do their best. However, when these same players decide to use the platform they’ve been given to initiate conversation and spark social change, a portion of the fan base loses their minds.  

There are others still who say things like, “Removing statues and changing the state flag won’t fix anything – it’s a heart problem.”  

We do have a heart problem in our community. That much is apparent, evidenced by those who spew hatred at people advocating for positive change.  

To the players speaking out for positive change, we see you, we hear you and we embrace you for what you are: much-loved members of the Ole Miss family. 

Education

University of Mississippi to have “full, in-person campus experience” for Fall 2021 semester

Lafayette County

Private group to lead Old Taylor Road beautification efforts

Lafayette County

Oxford Animal Shelter cleaning up amidst investigation

Crime

Arrests made in mTrade Park soccer field vandalism

News

Alleged prank call leads to lockdown of Oxford School District campuses

Lafayette County

Board of Supervisors approve 2021 plan for Lafayette County roads

News

Unicorn Sighting: LGBTQ+ Advocate runs across Mississippi

News

US Attorney William C. Lamar resigns after nearly three-decade career

Elections

Absentee voting begins for Oxford’s municipal primary elections

News Main

mTrade Park still assessing the damage to vandalized soccer fields

News

City of Oxford awarded MDOT grants for two projects

News

Arthur Doctor Receives IHL Diversity Educator of the Year Award

Lifestyle

FROM THE KITCHEN TO THE FRONT PORCH: Remembering Angelo Mistilis

Lafayette County

Work begins to clear roads after Lafayette County hit by two winter storms

News

Oxford Police and Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department investigate claims against Mississippi Critterz

News

So Much Snow: Lafayette County hit with second wave of winter storm

Lafayette County

PHOTO GALLERY: Winter Storm Uri

News

Neighbor rescues puppy in frozen lake near Wellsgate

News

Best of Oxford 2021 Nominations Now Open

Events

Double Decker Arts Festival canceled for 2021 due to COVID-19

News

MS Critterz says no dogs housed outdoors in frigid weather

Lafayette County

Winter Storm Uri — Current Conditions in Lafayette County

Events

Supermarket Sweep: Regents School of Oxford holds fundraiser to benefit Interfaith Compassion Ministries

Lafayette County

Winter storm arrives: Weather Conditions in Lafayette County