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SBD/April 7, 2014/Colleges
Northwestern's Fitzgerald Reiterates Stance Against Unionization Effort Ahead Of Vote
Published April 7, 2014
NOT A SURE THING ANYMORE: ESPN's Rittenberg said it is "going to be a very interesting vote," as it is "hard to call it right now." Rittenberg: "It seems pretty 50-50 on the team, and the fact that a lot of the older players that are looked up to on that team seem to oppose the union could be important.” ESPN's Bram Weinstein asked if the NU players "feel threatened in any way.” Rittenberg: “It is a massive distraction. They are programmed to play football and to focus on winning Big Ten championships, and right now to practice during the spring. ... I don’t think they fully realize how big this petition, at least to petition for union back in January, would be. It has become a national story, they are always being talked about.” Rittenberg added, “Are they going to go down this route and potentially be pioneers as far as forming a union? I think that is a little bit intimidating for a lot of the players on that team, whether they want to be those guys.” Weinstein added, “We thought the ‘yes’ vote was a foregone conclusion. I guess we had better think otherwise” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 4/6).
HUMA'S HOPE: In N.Y., Ben Strauss wrote under the header, "Voices Emerging Against A Union." CAPA President Ramogi Huma will be at NU to "press their case to the players in the coming weeks" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/5). Huma on Thursday at the Aspen Institute refuted that CAPA "wants pay for play." He said, "This is not about salary." He "reiterated his desire to focus on issues like closing the gap between scholarship amounts and the full cost of attendance, covering sports-related medical expenses, improving graduation rates and reducing concussions" (L.A. TIMES, 4/5).
SUPPORTING CAST: CBSSPORTS.com's Jeremy Fowler reported more than 50 former college players -- including several Pro Football HOFers and "prominent names -- have signed a 'Statement of Support' for the Ed O'Bannon class-action lawsuit against the NCAA over the right for players to use their name for commercial purposes." The list includes Texans RB Arian Foster, ESPN's Desmond Howard, former NBAer Nolan Smith, 10 Pro Football HOFers and Lions GM Martin Mayhew, among others (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/4).