Proving yet again that Blacks are a colony in the U.S., the debate on whether college football should be played or not has not included the opinion of the athletes themselves, the overwhelming majority of whom are African American. It does give one pause when you consider a group of Southern White folks are making decisions about the well-being of a largely Black group of athletes.
Of course, many of these athletes if polled will likely say they want to play, which is understandable because they are young and some see playing this game as the only road to real riches if they are found good enough to play at the next level.
So it stands to reason that these players should ban together and form a union. Clemson’s star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has called for players to form an association, meaning that they ought to find a way to organize themselves so they too can be fairly compensated as well as have a say in what goes on in their game.
Incidentally, his coach Dabo Swinney found some comfort in the fact his quarterback said association rather than union. But his intentional misinterpretation of what the quarterback was really saying made him the butt of jokes nationally.
Swinney tried to find a difference between union and association because he, like most coaches, are opposed to any kind of organized efforts of the players, union or otherwise.
In fact, it’s not much of a stretch to say that while these coaches express undying love for the labor force that provides them riches unknown to most, they do not support these kids’ social causes.
Few came out in support of their young Black athletes who showed overwhelming support this summer for the movement to eradicate police violence and racism from U.S. society. Swinney was seen earlier this summer during the height of national protests wearing a shirt that said “Football Matters.” And the championship-winning coach has been consistently backwards on racial justice issues. Enough said.
Former football coach and life-long conservative Lou Holtz has likened the young people playing football to the World War II invasion of France, saying. in essence. that playing college football is like war and some casualties should be expected.
Holtz revealed more than he knew. Many people view college athletes as warriors who exist simply for their entertainment and if a few of them get hurt or are victimized by a virus “Oh well, too bad so sad.”
The rapper Plies summed up the hypocrisy on Twitter this week saying, “Head coaches are front and center on every big news outlet fighting for college football. It’s gotta happen they need this. But a couple months ago, no one could find y’all for the Black Lives Matter Movement.
“No one could find y’all when these kids were screaming against injustices in the system. You have solutions now but you didn’t have solutions for these kids or their parents when the Black Lives Matter Movement was going on.
“You had no solutions. But all of a sudden, ‘they are safer with us here on campus; we can’t let em go back home.’ So if you know how bad it is for them back home, why weren’t you fighting against the injustices in the system. You know how bad it is for them back home, according to you.
“So it’s okay to fight for them for them to use their talents and abilities, but it ain’t okay for them to fight for them when they trying to get some equality and justice. Couldn’t find you; you ran from the cameras when there was a social issue going on in this country, but you are front and center [now]; You are livid asking how can you do this to my kids.”
Without question, this also speaks to the mentality and lack of imagination of Black people who even in the 21st century who continue to send their youth to institutions of higher learning that don’t really care about them or their well-being, but only what they can bring benefit to the institution.
At the very least, schools like Clemson and the SEC that fail to support student organizing and anti-racism should be made an example of as kids should refuse to play for them.
In essence, players, especially Black players, are playing for haters, who nevertheless depend on their passive cooperation to make billions.
Though some still argue that the college education that is provided to so-called student-athletes in return for their labor on the sports field is adequate, it is becoming more and more obvious that it simply is not just compensation.
College sports rake in billions of dollars, with the average college football season bringing in over at least a few billion.
Interestingly, the football conferences located in the southern part of the United States are pressing on with their plans to play this fall. But this is the same section of the country that has steadfastly refused to take the coronavirus as seriously as it should. Most of the Southern states, against the advice of experts, reopened sooner than the Northern states and as a result they are reporting the most cases of COVID-19 and fatalities.
It’s also the same part of the country that is most adamantly anti-union.
The Big Ten and Pac 12 have made the most sensible decision and postponed their seasons until spring, which could eventually mean that the entire 2020 season will be cancelled.
“When you’re dealing with the lives of human beings, you can’t have ‘I don’t knows,’” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in an interview with Yahoo Sports.
Warren’s decision has been criticized and he has been the object of much criticism throughout the country, but who can argue with his logic? He is saying we simply do not know enough about this virus, so why take a chance.
Ironically, some Big Ten schools, namely the University of Nebraska, want to press on with the season because the local economy in Lincoln stands to lose tens of millions of dollars.
Well, at least they are honest. They want to continue and put players at risk because they are concerned about their bottom line and ironically, still have not opened the door to compensating the players who if rewarded financially could help the school find a middle ground in which everybody wins.
Justice, then peace.
Mel Reeves was the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder until he passed away on January 6, 2022. He had a long and storied history working at the MSR.
Find more about Reeve’s life and legacy here: spokesman-recorder.com/category/remembering-mel-reeves.