Opinion: Athletes and coaches played a huge role in changing Mississippi's state flag

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It’s been a hard three and a half months without sports. But in the absence of games and practices, Mississippi’s athletes and coaches did more to help create change than ever before.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Tuesday evening that mandates the removal of the state flag and bans future use of the Confederate emblem. Years of grassroots efforts and statewide activism went into ensuring Mississippi was no longer the only state to include the emblem of the Confederate battle flag on its flag. The politicians, lobbyists and everyday citizens who fought to make this change happen deserve plenty of credit for persisting and persevering.

But make no mistake: Sports turned this from a debate to a reality.

I briefly chatted with Ole Miss linebacker MoMo Sanogo on Saturday afternoon. It was around the same time the state Senate was voting to allow Sunday’s vote (Both chambers of Mississippi’s legislature voted to take down the state flag). Sanogo couldn’t contain a wry grin thinking about the implications of the impending vote. 

People have fought to get the flag taken down for years, he correctly pointed out. But…

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