If there is one established union that best understands the desires, demands and points of view of college football players, it is the NFL Players Association. The NFLPA is supporting the players union movement at Northwestern, and likely would lend support to any other players unions that could follow in the footsteps of a successful union push at Northwestern.
DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, wrote a column for The Huffington Post Tuesday, laying out the reasons the NFLPA supports the movement led by Northwestern’s Kain Colter. Smith notes the opinions expressed by university officials, coaches and NCAA officials is off the mark.
“The response of the NCAA, the university president and people who don’t want to hear Kain and his teammates is essentially, “Shut up and play.” The NCAA sells and wants college athletes to be a team everywhere except in a room where they can talk about the issues they care about,” Smith writes. “The truth is that they do not want a team that demands a response from a system that makes millions from their play.”
There is still some work to be done before Northwestern players officially form the first college players union in the country. A vote is set for later this month where Northwestern players will vote to form an official union. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald is urging his players to vote no, and the university is still on track to challenge the ruling made by the National Labor Relations Board.