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Cardinals' Missouri Products Support Former Team

Notes: LBs Weatherspoon, Golden proud of statement denouncing racism; Sendlein sits

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Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden (shown here at the 2015 Citrus Bowl) was proud of coach Gary Pinkel and the Missouri football team for threatening a boycott to bring attention to allegations of racism on campus.


Sean Weatherspoon spent Thursday on the sideline at the University of Missouri, rooting for his alma mater against Mississippi State.

He was a bit dejected after the loss, until the Cardinals linebacker realized later there were was a much bigger issue at hand involving the football team. On Saturday, 30 black Missouri players announced their decision to boycott football activities until school president Tim Wolfe resigned or was fired for improperly handling allegations of racism on campus.

A day later, coach Gary Pinkel Tweeted a photo of a unified group, with the coaches and other players joining the original 30. The team's stand coupled with a hunger strike by a graduate student brought national attention to the escalating tension, and Wolfe resigned on Monday.

Weatherspoon had no idea what was about to occur during his stop in Columbia, but said Tuesday he was proud of the decision by the players and the students at the school.

"The power is in the numbers," Weatherspoon said. "When you stick together with each other you can do some pretty powerful things. Those guys stuck together, and it was even more gratifying when their teammates stood with them too."

Rookie linebacker Markus Golden spent three years playing for Missouri, which he called "the time of my life." He said he didn't experience any racism during that period, but said this situation was clearly serious and something had to be done.

"If the players and the coaches at Mizzou feel that type of way, I'm on board," Golden said. "Those are my brothers, and the coaches are like father figures to me. I'm supporting them."

Weatherspoon said it was no surprise to see Pinkel and the other players speak out in support of their black teammates. He said it was similar to the situation in 2013 when Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay to his teammates and found them supportive.

"That just shows you how they do things out there," Weatherspoon said.

While the focus was on Missouri this time, Weatherspoon said the issue of racism spans far beyond campus, and he's hoping more progress can be made.

"It ain't just one school, though," Weatherspoon said. "It's just the times we live in. There's some stuff going on everywhere. It's going to be against blacks, it's going to be against whites. It's racism. It's alive today. That's just what it is. But I'm glad that something positive is being done, and they're trying to do some good things in order to make the university more diverse."

SENDLEIN MISSES PRACTICE; SHIPLEY COULD START

Bruce Arians didn't have to give an injury update on Tuesday, but the Cardinals' usually-frank coach avoided most of the mystery anyway. He said everyone on the team practiced except center Lyle Sendlein, who is nursing a shoulder injury suffered against the Browns.

Arians said backup center A.Q. Shipley is "probably" going to start against the Seahawks on Sunday.

"(Sendlein) is a tough guy," Arians said. "There's always a chance with him. I've seen him play through it before, but I'd rather have a full speed guy than an 80-percent-hurt guy."

Linebacker Alex Okafor (calf), wide receiver John Brown (hamstring), cornerback Jerraud Powers (hamstring) and tight end Darren Fells (shoulder) are all expected to return after missing the win over Cleveland.

BACK FROM THE BYE

The Cardinals had five days off with the bye weekend, a rare break during the season, and it came at exactly the midway point. Some players took a mini vacation while others kept it more low key.

"I didn't do much of anything," safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "I pretty much just sat on the couch."

Arians said the team looked rested and it had an energetic practice. Before the players left he warned them not to be "the guy" by getting into trouble. It sounds like they all heeded that advice.

"No police reports that I know of," Arians said. "That I know of."

FITZGERALD NOMINATED FOR SALUTE TO SERVICE AWARD

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was nominated by the Cardinals for the "Salute to Service Award presented by USAA" for his support of the military. Last year's winner was current Panthers defensive end Jared Allen.

The winner will be recognized at the NFL Honors awards show in San Francisco on Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl 50.

Images of the players who can be voted on by fans for the 2016 Pro Bowl



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