MISSOULA, Mont. - Comments made by a former congressman and current university regent Pat Williams, calling some University of Montana football players 'thugs' made national headlines. Now there's a petition asking the governor and Montana University System to publicly censure and terminate Williams for the statements.
The petition was started by the father of a Grizzly football player (who asked not to be named at this time) who talked with NBC Montana Tuesday.
He started the petition over the weekend, after he heard frustration from other parents after Williams made the comments to the New York Times and then later stood by what he said.
The petition organizer calls it a grass roots group that's quickly reached beyond parents of Griz athletes and is now seeing support from people across the nation. The petition had well over 200 signatures by the end of the day Tuesday, with more coming in via email every few minutes.
The Griz parent said it's a low-tech petition for now; it hasn't reached facebook or other online platforms just yet. But he's read every email from every supporter so far, and says they're full of emotion.
The petition will eventually be passed on to Governor Bullock, the Board of Regents and state legislature.
Williams was appointed to the Board of Regents by Governor Brian Schweitzer after the 2011 legislative session. That means he hasn't been confirmed yet. The Senate Administration Committee has to vote this session. That likely won't happen until the end of the session this year.
To put your name on the petition or to get more information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org