MSU's Mike Leach: Mississippi's Flag Should Change Because It Doesn't Unify

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2020

New Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach, speaks before reporters and school supporters, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, at the Starkville, Miss., based university, after being officially introduced as the head coach. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach told reporters Thursday that the state of Mississippi should change its flag because it does not "unify" its citizens.

The Mississippi State flag features the Confederate flag in its upper left-hand corner and is one of seven state flags that feature symbols or connections of the flags of the Confederacy, which fought for the continued enslavement of Black people.

The Confederate flag is racist symbol, and the NCAA recently announced the state of Mississippi will be barred from holding any championship events until the flag is changed.

Leach and Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin were among a contingent of representatives who met with legislators Thursday in an attempt to change the flag. Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill said this week he will not play until the state changes its flag. 

"We removed the flag from our campus five years ago, so we've made it clear that it doesn't represent who we are at Ole Miss," Kiffin told ESPN's Chris Low. "Today is another big step in doing our part to move the state forward and ensure a more welcoming environment for everyone. This is extremely important to me and to our players. Time to change!"

Mississippi has also seen pressure from companies like Walmart, which has ceased displaying the state flag at stores.

Mississippi State and Ole Miss have already stopped flying the flag on their respective campuses. Gov. Tate Reeves has maintained it is not his decision whether to change the flag, saying it would have to be up to a public vote.

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