Thursday, April 24, 2014
Kain Colter Channels Curt Flood
The Northwestern football players are going to vote tomorrow on whether to form a union. The ex-quarterback Kain Colter spearheaded the fight which he and his supporters took to the National Labor Relations Board. The issues were about coverage for medical expenses if a player is injured, guaranteed scholarships, and a voice at the table. It was NOT about players earning salaries even though the media seized upon this possibility.
I'll be shocked if the Northwestern players vote "yes." There is too much intimidation, and much confusion. But, the door has been opened. You can laugh at the NCAA giving a few more meals to the players after a star basketball player said he went to bed hungry. ("Let them eat cake.") But, you didn't see that happening last year, right?
Maybe it was the flavor of the 1960's that encouraged Curt Flood to challenge baseball's reserve clause. This clause gave baseball owners total control over a player's career. It took until 1975 before the clause was overturned. Sadly, Curt Flood never played again.
I don't expect the Northwestern players to sacrifice their future. Especially when their own coach who controls their playing time, tells them to vote "no."
That's why Curt Flood, and the others like him, deserve every bit of our attention when thinking about this vote.