It’s really happening
Anyone who went to bed before midnight Eastern last night woke up to a big surprise: College football players from the five major conferences want to form a union.
Last week, players from the Pac-12 threatened to boycott the 2020 season unless the conference agreed to a series of demands from the athletes. Over the weekend, another group of players (including Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and many Ohio State Buckeyes) began tweeting in concert about their desire to play. It seemed like the two groups were at odds with each other—one attempting to use its leverage against the college football power structure, the other hoping to work with the people in charge and get this season underway.
Then came the flea-flicker.
The Pac-12 players’ #WeAreUnited movement and the other players’ #WeWantToPlay effort joined forces. Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (who could easily go first and second in the 2021 NFL draft) dropped identical statements at 12:01 a.m. ET calling for a set of NCAA-wide policies to address the pandemic’s effect on college football. The aims are straightforward: to create universal health and safety protocols and allow players to opt out without sacrificing eligibility. And then there’s the big one: “Use our voices to establish open communication & trust between players and officials; ultimately create a College Football Players Association.”
This is huge. Football players at Northwestern previously tried and failed to unionize but now you have a much larger group engaged in the effort. College football can function without Northwestern. It can’t function without the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. There’s a chance that 10 years from now we look back at 12:01 am on August 10, 2020 as the moment college football changed forever.
This is a player-led movement all the way through. Though Lawrence and Fields used their status as the top players in the game to bring attention and urgency to the effort, the strength of the movement lies in its numbers and its support from athletes at different levels.
Dallas Hobbs, a largely anonymous defensive lineman from Washington State played an equally significant role in getting the message out. Hobbs was tasked with creating the graphic design of the players’ statement—and he only had 20 minutes to do it.
Hobbs is a redshirt junior for the Cougars. He played in all of the team’s 13 games last season, starting seven, and had 5.5 tackles-for-loss, good for third on the team. He was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 First Team after earning a 3.81 GPA as a Digital Technology and Culture major. He has Twitter and Instagram accounts just for showing off his artwork, including cool timelapse stuff like this:
As of this writing, Hobbs only has 241 followers on Instagram and 909 on Twitter. If nothing else, his ability to turn that graphic around on short notice and with such great results is really good for him. He should have no trouble landing a great graphic design job once he graduates.
You really can’t be doing this
MLB made it crystal clear that clearing the benches this season is strictly prohibited, to limit unnecessary contact between players. And yet, the Astros have been involved in two bench-clearing incidents already.
Houston hitting coach Alex Cintrón appears to have been the instigator here. Cintrón reportedly insulted Ramón Laureano’s mother, causing Laureano to charge the dugout.
MLB dropped the hammer on Joe Kelly for his role in the first benches-clearing incident in Houston, suspending him eight games (13% of the whole season) but no one else was suspended.
If the league wants to prevent future incidents like these, it needs to make an example out of the Houston and Oakland players at the center of the brawl.
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