MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A group of University of Montana football fans has started a petition asking the governor and higher education officials to censure former Congressman Pat Williams for his statements last week that the UM football program recruits thugs and to end his appointment on the Board of Regents.

Scott Gratton, father of former Montana wide receiver Sam Gratton, is circulating the petition via email. He declined comment to the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/X3Fw7j).

The petition argues that labeling UM football players as "thugs" is untrue, irresponsible and damaging. Williams made the comments in the days leading up to former quarterback Jordan Johnson's trial for sexual intercourse without consent

Williams said he wasn't referring to the majority of UM football players, but those who have been convicted of crimes over the past few years.

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