In a pretty naked attempt to land thousands of additional clients and exponentially increase the size of his clientele base, sports agent Donald Yee, who is also a lawyer and represents such notables as New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady and New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees, took to the pages of The Washington Post where he completed the liberal hat-trick by using the race card, class warfare, and boycott/protest to call for paying college athletes:
“On Monday night, college football will crown a new champion. In the process, a lot of money will be made.
“No matter who wins, the University of Alabama’s Southeastern Conference and Clemson University’s Atlantic Coast Conference will be paid $6 million each. So will the conferences of the schools those teams beat to make it to the final. The organization that runs the playoff, a Delaware-headquartered corporation that’s separate from the NCAA, takes in about $470 million each year from ESPN. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney made $3.3 million last year and, as The Washington Post recently reported, his chief of staff makes $252,000; Alabama’s Nick Saban, the highest-paid coach in college football, made slightly more than $7 million, and the team’s strength and conditioning coach makes $600,000.
Some of the players are future NFL stars who will probably be rich one day, too: Alabama is led by Heisman Trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry, who set a SEC record for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in a season. Clemson features gifted quarterback Deshaun Watson, also a Heisman finalist, and running back sensation Wayne Gallman.
The NCAA, though, insists that all of its players are student-athletes motivated only by love of the game and of their alma maters. So on Monday, they’ll be working for free. Most fans of college football and basketball go along with the pretense, looking past the fact that the NCAA makes nearly $1 billion a year from unpaid labor.
But after a year when Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country, and at the end of a season when the football team at the University of Missouri helped force the resignation of the school’s top two administrators over how the campus handled race-related incidents, we need to stop ignoring the racial implications of the NCAA’s hypocrisy.
After all, who is actually earning the billions of dollars flooding universities, athletic conferences, TV networks and their sponsors? To a large extent, it’s young black men, who are heavily overrepresented in football and men’s basketball, the two sports that bring in virtually all the revenue in college athletics. A 2013 study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education found that 57 percent of the football players and 64 percent of the men’s basketball players in the six biggest conferences were black; at the same schools, black men made up less than 3 percent of the overall student population. (In recent NFL drafts, five times as many black players were taken in the first two rounds, where the perceived best players are picked, as white players.) Athletics administrators and coaches, meanwhile, are overwhelmingly white.
So by refusing to pay athletes, the NCAA isn’t just perpetuating a financial injustice. It’s also committing a racial one.”
One day, someone a lot smarter than me (not Donald Yee, obviously) is going to have to explain to me how it is a racial injustice to extend scholarships, many of them worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 or more, to minority kids who would otherwise have no or very limited access to those kinds of institutions.
But whatevs. Yee continued:
“Change, however, could come rapidly and fairly easily. If even a small group of players took a stand and refused to participate — imagine if they boycotted or delayed the start of Monday night’s championship game — administrators would have to back down. There’s too much money on the line, and no one could force the teams to play against their will. The schools and the NCAA would simply have to renegotiate the bargain with football and basketball players.
Paying players would cost money, of course, but with billions in TV revenue coming in, it shouldn’t be impossible to find a way to spend some of it on labor instead of on exotic woods for new training facilities. Fans would get over the end of the NCAA’s “amateur” status, just as they have accepted pro basketball, hockey and soccer players competing in the Olympics.
Former University of California and NFL linebacker Scott Fujita (whom I represent) recently told me: “The current model will only be ‘broken’ for as long as the athletes themselves allow it to remain that way. There’s no governing body that’s going to fix it. It must be the players. And as more players realize the power they can wield, and once they can organize around the common purpose of the change they seek, that’s when things will begin to shift.”
It’s time for those supremely talented young football and basketball players to help themselves to a better future.”
Of course, the fact that Yee so deftly dodges hinges on the fact that only people who make money, make money. Sure there are a ton of normal, average college athletes who help make universities money by playing football. But the value of those players is already compensated, if not over-compensated, by their scholarships. The actual number of players who generate ticket sales, merchandise, TV network purchases, and wealth beyond the normal scholarship offering is actually relatively small.
Some might even be interested in finding a way to compensate those exceptionally valuable players. But that’s not what Yee is talking about. What he’s preaching is a hostile takeover of the NCAA by a bunch of kids, united under a banner of alleged “racial injustice.” Which just so happens to directly benefit him, since, of course, once these college players get paid and become “employees,” it’s not too far of a cry before they’ll need agents as well.
And because The Washington Post is also functioning under a banner of class warfare, boycott/protest, and race-card dealing, they were all too happy to print it.
They deserve each other, really.