Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman explains jersey switch to No. 0
Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman made a lot of Gopher fans happy over the last two weeks, opting to pull his name out of the NFL Draft and return to the college game for one more season. More good news poured in last week, when the NCAA approved Bateman’s waiver to return to competition.
But things won’t be exactly the same for Bateman. This year, the star wide receiver is switching his jersey number from No. 13 to No. 0. The reason is to represent Minnesota’s zero-tolerance policy for racism within the program.
In an interview with Big Ten Network’s Mike Hall, Bateman explained why he decided to make the switch.
“When I found out zero was an eligible number that we can use to share, I hopped right on it,” Bateman said. “I texted Coach [P.J.] Fleck and I asked him, and I told him my reasons why — with everything going on in the world right now with social injustice, I feel like it was very important for me to use my platform while I can. And I was blessed to have it. So, with zero tolerance for racism, we don’t tolerate it in this program. And me, personally, I just fell like this is what this country needs at this time and I can use my platform to do so.”
Bateman said the idea of using the No. 0 to show that there’s a zero-tolerance policy in Minnesota’s program came to him as soon as he found out that the number would be available this year.
Below is the complete clip from Big Ten Network:
"It was very important for me to use my platform while I can."
— Minnesota on BTN (@MinnesotaOnBTN) October 5, 2020