There were a couple of developments on the unionization of Northwestern football players, one of which served as no surprise and the other that may raise more than a couple of eyebrows.
On the latter front, Trevor Siemian, who supplanted Kain Colter as the Wildcats’ starting quarterback, came out Wednesday afternoon decidedly against the push to unionize his team specifically and the sport of college football in general. According to Siemian, he failed to gather enough information to form an educated opinion of the union push, whose public face has been that of Colter.
Instead of the union, Siemian said, the players should’ve taken any issues they may have had with the current system to NU’s administrators, including head coach Pat Fitzgerald. (How that would’ve helped assuage the players and their issues is unknown.) In fact, Siemian lauded the university and his experience at the school.
“I’ve had an unbelievable experience here, an unbelievable experience. And I think this all began with the best intentions, sure. I feel that way, and a lot of guys on the team feel that way, but given our circumstance here with the way we’re treated, you know, I’m treated far better than I deserve here and introducing a third party or somebody else especially when our main goals when this began is there are issues with the NCAA that we thought we could address and that was one of the ways to do it but nothing has been exhausted from within the school, you know? Myself included, nobody has ever addressed (Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald) or (NU athletics director) Dr. Phillips about these issues, and two of these guys all of us have come here and trusted so much. I’ve known Coach Fitz for five or six years now, and to say I don’t trust you enough to help us out and make these changes I don’t think is the right way to go.”
(Tip O’ the Quote Cap: Marcus Hartman)
A total of 76 Northwestern football players are eligible to vote for or against a union, an election that is scheduled to take place April 25. In order for the football team to unionize, more than half of the players would need to vote in favor of allowing the College Athletics Players Association to collectively bargain with the university for them.
Surprisingly, Siemian doesn’t see a pro-union landslide in the offing.
“I can only speak for myself but I’ll say there’s a significant amount of guys on the team that feel similar to me,” the quarterback said.
In addition to Siemian’s comments, Northwestern, as has been expected, officially filed an appeal of the National Labor Relations Board’s Chicago regional office’s ruling that NU football players are employees. That appeal, which can be viewed in its entirety HERE, will be heard at an undetermined date in Washington D.C.