Chris Webber is the latest person to throw his 2 cents on the ruling of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) denying Northwestern’s football players to unionize. Seen in the link below is his opinion of the ruling. He had some interesting words.
“I definitely think students athletes have the right to make sure that they can take care of each other.” He also said, “Bill Russell told me any system that gets free labor is slavery. So, I’m sure they have the right to unionize.”
Slavery is a sensitive word in this country for obvious reasons why but does Chris and Bill (Russell) have a point?
Initially, my thoughts on it was that the word “slavery” tied with student athletes is a little over the top. Free labor doesn’t necessarily mean it is slavery. Thousands of people volunteer to do free labor daily for various reasons. And sure, majority of student athletes get full scholarships to participate at their university’s programs and to get an education. People aren’t close to the situation or unfamiliar would think that should be enough. The ultimate goal for (some) student-athletes and other students is to get a degree, and that’s what it should be. What’s the point of going to school if you’re not going to get an education and graduate? A waste of time and money right?
That’s how a good portion of people think that’s it and most cases that would be it until… you start to get your hands dirty and dig into some information. Then you start asking is making money off of student athletes fair? Don’t they deserve a piece of the pie, even if it’s a sample slice? Morally, do you feel comfortable knowing that a university, an institution where you get an education, a place that receives income not only from college students and their partners, but also revenue from the athletic department from all the sport events, are making millions off of student athletes and they don’t see a penny of it?
These people are human beings first, students second, and athletes third. If I was only Michigan’s football team as Running Back or a Shooting Guard at Duke University, and I see all of this income coming into my program and none of it entered my Chase bank account, I would feel some type of way. Free room and board and classes paid for is a blessing itself, but if I’m helping filling stadiums that hold thousands of people, games being aired on national television, and merchandise that’s being sold stores nationwide and online, I would expect a paycheck at some point.
But people who don’t understand would ask questions like “Why don’t you work on campus?” First of all, the hours that these coaches demand of players, that’s like working a full-time job in itself. Nobody ever wants to mention all the long and extra hours that these athletes have to put in, in order to continue to play for the program. At what point do they time for a job, let alone school work!?!?!? Second, if the did get a job, they will be paid way below than what they’re worth. And the media and ignorant people wonder why you hear about boosting scandals that happen with these athletes at their programs, like the infamous one that happened for decades at the University of Miami, also known as”The U.”
Chris Webber’s opinion is worth listening to. I mean, he’s a former college athlete himself; part of the revolutionary “Fab Five”, that changed the culture of basketball forever. He’s been to 2 consecutive National Championship games while playing for the University of Michigan. He’ll probably end up in the basketball Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done.
When you have other celebrities, like Chris Rock, noticing the ridiculous treatment that student athletes have to indulge, then a caution flag should be raised by the very least. The players that we know that’s going to make millions as a professional athlete, shouldn’t be viewed differently than majority of the other players that will have to find employment post-college. I’m not saying you pay these kids thousands and thousands of dollars, but you should at least compensate them for their production.
I know that majority of universities have state of the art facilities and equipment that the athletes use. Their playbooks are now on iPads. But my personal issue is that where do you think these schools are getting hte money from for these updated resources and do you really believe every school has mind blowing facilities like Kentucky or Duke or Michigan? All institutions don’t have iPads for playbooks. Their equipment can be similar to your local gym at times.
I say you should pay or compensate your students for their contributions to their respective universities and it should be fair standards across the board, meaning, it should be the same amount if you’re in the same division. If you’re an NCAA Division 1 athlete, you should be paid or compensated teh same as another NCAA Division 1 athlete. Same for Division 2 and 3, NAIA, and so on. Obviously, the higher the level the more the payout because bigger universities generate more revenue. All I’m saying is this will stop players for having to sell their own memorabilia like Terrell Pryor (And got in trouble for it!). I know some people may feel different about it, but I wanted to share my thoughts. Let me know what you think!