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.
Nearly two months after his tragic passing, a cause of death for Zach Hemmila has been confirmed.
Based on the autopsy report filed by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, the Arizona Republic is reporting that the 22-year-old Hemmila’s death was the result of the combined toxic effects of two different prescription drugs. The two drugs, the Republic noted, were oxymorphone, an opiate painkiller, and alprazolam, an anxiety medication.
From the newspaper’s report:
Chewing tobacco was found in Hemmila’s mouth, according to the autopsy report. No intact pills were discovered in his gastrointestinal system. His lungs were “markedly congested,” per the report.
Hemmila passed away either very late on the night of Aug. 7 or early in the morning Aug. 8. A cousin discovered Hemmila’s body at the Arizona offensive lineman’s residence.
His death has officially been ruled an accident.
“Arizona Athletics continues to mourn the passing of Zach Hemmila,” a statement from the university said in response to the report. “We will honor the family’s request for privacy and support them in any way we can.”
Hemmila started six games last season. He was slated to start at center for the Wildcats this season.
The Wildcats will continue to wear a sticker the No. 65 to honor Hemmila for the remainder of the season.
LSU received some good news and not so good news ahead of its first game without Les Miles on the sidelines in more than a decade.
On the latter news front, star running back Leonard Fournette is listed as a game-day decision for Saturday’s contest against Missouri because of a lingering ankle issue. The All-American initially injured the ankle during a mid-August summer camp practice; then aggravated it against Wisconsin in the opener; sat out the Week 2 game against an FCS foe; and then aggravated it again in Week 4 against Auburn.
After leading the country in yards per game last season with nearly 163 yards per game, Fournette is currently 10th at 128.7. That total still tops the SEC.
On a more positive tip for the Tigers, interim head coach Ed Orgeron confirmed that starting defensive lineman Davon Godchaux has been reinstated to the program and will be permitted to practice with his teammates. Whether he plays this Saturday remains to be seen. Godchaux had been arrested on a pair of charges stemming from a domestic incident over the weekend, but the prosecutor in the case announced Tuesday that he would not be filing formal charges.
Godchaux has started all four games this season (26 in his career) and is fifth on the team in tackles.
Three playing members of the Nebraska football program who knelt in protest during the playing of the national anthem Saturday faced significant — and some racially-charged — criticism for their actions, including one NU regent who wants the players removed from the program. The state’s governor, Pete Ricketts (pictured, right), was highly critical as well.
“Generations of men and women have died to give them that right to protest,” Ricketts said. “I think the way they chose to protest was disgraceful and disrespectful.”
One of the NU kneelers, senior linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, took to Twitter to ask the governor to met with him and discuss the issues that led he and his teammates, freshmen Mohamed Barry and DaiShon Neal, to kneel in protest.
Late Tuesday night, Ricketts responded.
Imagine that, discussion, not rhetoric, on both sides of an issue. What a revolutionary concept.
In the eyes of some, Jimbo Fisher left the door open for a departure from Florida State in his first public comments since LSU fired Les Miles.
“I’m not talking about LSU. No I haven’t [had contact with the Tigers] and I’m not talking about it,” the head coach said Monday.
Two days later, Fisher, one of the wagering favorites to replace Miles, attempted to slam the door on a potential departure, although some will see his “plan on” qualifier as leaving the door propped open yet again.
“I love this university. I plan on being here for a long time,” Fisher said during Wednesday’s ACC coaches’ teleconference. “I love Florida State, and that’s all I’m saying. I’ll talk about myself and Florida State.
“Anything else is clutter, and does not concern me, and is not involving me.”
Fisher spent seven seasons (2000-2006) as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at LSU before leaving for the same jobs — and the added title of head coach in waiting — at FSU. Taking over for Bobby Bowden following the 2009 season, Fisher has guided the Seminoles to a 71-15 record in six-plus seasons, with 2013 ending with a national championship.
Last year as speculation centered on Miles’ tenuous status, Fisher was mentioned as a potential candidate then as well. In fact, some reports had Fisher “intermediaries” in talks with LSU, although, obviously, nothing ever came of it if it indeed actually happened.