- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- There are currently three players in the NFL from Grambling State and Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher is one of them. Hatcher said the weeklong boycott by the Grambling football players last week because of the poor conditions at the school was embarrassing.
Hatcher, who played at Grambling for four seasons, said the school should never have fired the man he played for in Doug Williams.
"It was pretty much brand new when I got there," Hatcher said of the facilities. "But one thing you don't do, you don't fire Doug Williams. That's like firing Peyton Manning (after) going to Tennessee and you fire him. It's something you don't do. At least ask him to step down, you don't fire the guy. That's the wrong thing to do at Grambling State University. When you think about Grambling you think of two people: That's Eddie Robinson and Doug Williams. So, it's just a bad situation."
The football players ended the boycott on Monday and are back at practice preparing for Saturday's game. Yet the damage is still being felt. Jackson State, which lost a homecoming game because of the Grambling boycott, is considering financial action against the school. According to the Associated Press, Grambling president Frank Pogue told the University of Louisiana System board that oversees the historically black college that "it's a rarity for any athletic team to come together to abandon their commitment to an institution by walking off the field. It's a very unique experience. But we're using this as an opportunity of learning, a teachable moment."
Hatcher has talked with pride about his school with reporters in the past and noted he doesn't want anything negative to happen to his school. Yet, he's surprised to see the school projected in a negative light.
"A bunch of nonsense, man," Hatcher said. "I just don't want to be negative about the situation because Grambling was so close to my heart. I wouldn't be here without Grambling. I just hope the situation gets better. I heard the guys showed back up to practice. I will continue to pray for them. I think it should have been handled way before this kinda blew up. But it's a really sensitive and it really hurt me. It's kinda of embarrassing, it shouldn't have happened, it shouldn't happen at all. I feel sorry for those kids, hopefully it will get better."