Players from the Pac-12 Conference are United. As they should be.
Just hours after the conference unveiled their revised 2020 football schedule for all teams, a Pac-12 player group has officially threatened to not only opt out of the season, but out of preseason camp and all football-related activities.
What do they want, you may ask? Well, it’s simple: They want to feel protected. Feel safe. Feel secure.
And after all, they do give quite literally everything and ask for very little in return.
As an outspoken advocate for player safety and athlete justice for years, I have to say that I too, stand united with the Pac-12 Players. And on that, for all players around the country.
College football players are all too often unheard. Treated poorly. Unnoticed save for their abilities on the field. Unjustly served.
If you’ve never played a collegiate sport at any level, than you have no idea the difficulties faced with being 18-22 years old and juggling academics and athletics at the highest degree of difficulty.
I applaud the Pac-12 players for setting a precedent. For their speaking up. For doing what is right. For standing up for what they believe in. For taking the fight to the powers that be to ensure justice.
I now urge you, the reader, the fan, the friend, to read what they’re asking for. Read what they’re discussing. Read what their using their platform for.
To ensure future generations of college athletes will be treated fairly, #WeAreUnited.
Because NCAA sports exploit college athletes physically, economically and academically, and also disproportionately harm Black college athletes, #WeAreUnited.
In rejecting the NCAA’s claim that #BlackLivesMatter while also systematically exploiting Black athletes nationwide, #WeAreUnited.
Because we are being asked to play college sports in a pandemic in a system without enforced health and safety standards, and without transparency about COVID cases on our teams, the risks to ourselves, our families, and our communities, #WeAreUnited.
Because we must have adequate COVID testing to help protect our health, #WeAreUnited.
Because we are prohibited from securing representation while being asked to sign documents that may serve as liability waivers, #WeAreUnited.
Because we should not be stuck with sports-related medical expenses, including COVID-19 related expenses, #WeAreUnited.
Because any player who does not feel comfortable playing this season should be free to opt out without losing their scholarship or any eligibility, #WeAreUnited.
Because immoral rules would punish us for receiving basic necessities or compensation for the use of our names, images and likenesses, while many of us and our families are suffering economically from the COVID-19 fallout, #WeAreUnited.
Because we should be included in equitably sharing the revenue our talents generate, especially in a pandemic, #WeAreUnited.
Because unjust rules prevent the 98% of college football and basketball players who won’t go pro from capitalizing economically on what would otherwise be the most valuable years of our lives, including many Black players from low-income homes, #WeAreUnited.
Because eliminating lavish salaries and facility expenditures to preserve all sports must be prioritized, #WeAreUnited.
Because the NCAA has failed us and we are prepared to ensure that our conference treats us fairly whether or not it continues its NCAA membership, #WeAreUnited.
In forming alliances with college athletes from other conferences to unite with us for change, #WeAreUnited.
#WeAreUnited in our commitment to secure fair treatment for college athletes. Due to COVID-19 and other serious concerns, we will opt-out of Pac-12 fall camp and game participation unless the following demands are guaranteed in writing by our conference to protect and benefit both scholarship athletes and walk-ons.
I stand United with you, Pac-12 Players.