The University of Mississippi has honored a request from its football players to push a relocated Confederate statue even further out of sight and out of mind.
According to the Associated Press' Emily Wagster Pettus, the monument had been moved from a central location on Ole Miss’ Oxford campus to a Confederate soldier cemetery in July, part of a larger movement by the school — which still carries the nickname “Rebels” — to distance itself from such symbols.
However, the statue’s new location reportedly made it quite visible from the football team’s practice field outside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The team’s players had a problem with that, and the school has responded by erecting a barrier to hide the statue from the field.
From the AP:
“Over the summer, Chancellor [Glenn] Boyce met with several student-athletes who expressed concern regarding the statue’s new location at the cemetery on campus in relation to the vantage point from the football practice field,” university spokesman Rod Guajardo said in a statement. “In response, the university is installing a temporary screen around the monument.”
The reported plan is to keep a mesh covering over a chain-link fence at the cemetery until Ole Miss can plant permanent landscaping later this fall.
Ole Miss has struggled for years with its associations to the Confederacy. The school has tried to combat the issue by retiring things like its Colonel Reb mascot and traditional playing of “Dixie,” but the fact that a Confederate cemetery is so visible to its football facility underscores how deeply rooted the problem is.
The fight to move the statue off campus was a yearslong battle for student and faculty groups, per the AP, and the decision to move the statue only came after the killing of George Floyd and renewed conversation about racial injustice in the United States.
Until recently, the state flag of Mississippi included the Confederate emblem. The flag has not flown at public universities in the state for several years. The state is down to five final options for the flag’s new design.
More from Yahoo Sports: