“From the time I stepped in here this school has showed me love,” Moore said. “I know with all the stuff that’s gone on here, I’ve never experienced any (discrimination). I’ve gotten nothing but love from the students, classmates, professors. I’ve got nothing but love. I’ve had a good time on this campus. Shoot, I want to stay here but I’ve got to get up out of here. It’s just been a good place for me. Everybody has different experiences. Some people come here and it’s not what they thought it was. They have to go other places. I’ve had nothing but good times here. When I have kids someday and they want to come here I’d support them.”
Those were the words of senior Missouri wide receiver J’Mon Moore when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dave Matter asked him about his overall experience in Columbia, Mo. This recent statement from Moore is in stark contrast to what he was saying back in 2015. Moore was arguably the leading voice in creating support from the Missouri football team for Jonathan Butler and Concerned Student 1950.
Moore has taken a considerable amount of criticism from the Missouri fans. Missouri fans have been critical of both Moore’s on the field and off the field performance. When he’s at his best, Moore is one of the more difficult wide receivers to defend in the SEC. The problem is that he’s inconsistent. Off the field, Missouri fans have used Moore as the target of their frustration over the on campus protests.
His most recent statement is one of maturity and, I fear, this statement will not garner the positive acknowledge from his detractors that it deserves.
Without rehashing my position on the protests (I wrote more than needed on the subject), what Moore’s comments illustrate is the fact that people can have different experiences within the same environment. Should my experience negate another person’s experience? Absolutely not. But it is also important to recognize the role that emotion plays in how we perceive our experiences.
When Moore met Butler, he identified with the campus activist. Both Moore and Butler were young, African American men. While their real and perceived experiences at Missouri and in Columbia, MO. may have been different, having empathy for Butler was easy for Moore to do. It was also easy for Moore to act on this emotion and urge his closest friends, the football team, to throw their support behind Butler and his cause.
Now close to 2 years after the protest, Moore is showing the maturity that we should all hope college students show as they begin their senior years. After being on the receiving end of the criticism against the protest, it would be easy for Moore to have ill-will towards the university and anyone associated with the institution that wasn’t supportive of the Concerned Student 1950 cause. But that isn’t the case with Moore.
Moore believes that Missouri has been a good place for him. So much so that he would support his own children attending Missouri once he has kids of his own. Moore doesn’t appear to be vindictive against his detractors. It’s now time for his detractors to drop their vindictive mindset when it comes to Moore and the protests. He’s grown up. Now it’s time for the rest of us to do the same.
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Photo: Wikimedia Commons