Wealthy white coaches want football in a pandemic, but unpaid black players are most at risk

The governing bodies involved in sports in colleges and universities in Canada, in June, decided to cancel sports in the fall of this year, and this step made sense.

Without a vaccine for COVID-19 and schools that are hesitant to even conduct personal classes in September of this year, it is difficult to justify student sports. Encouraging students to share living quarters, power rooms, and water bottles during a pandemic causes them to spread the deadly virus.

Last week, the Ivy League, which includes Harvard, Princeton and Yale, became the last channel in the United States to close autumn sports, and this decision seems more logical as the number of cases grows. By Monday noon, more than 3.3 million cases and 135,000 deathsA Princeton graduate does not need to understand that the virus does not care about the football schedule.

But Power-5 conferences and their proprietary programs go as if the pandemic will subside. Big Ten and Pac 12 have excludes competition against non-conference opponentsbut the conferences in the southeast and atlantic coast did not announce plans to adjust autumn sports programs.

This scenario has its own meaning, given billions of dollars per card and racial differences in each college football season. The players are technically amateur, but all the football college head coaches pay. Lot. Clemson Tigers Dabo Sweinnie made $ 9.3 million last season. This salary, like most of the appeal of a major football college, is highly dependent on black talent. According to NCAA Diversity DatabaseLast season, blacks made up 49% of the first division football rosters, but only 14% of the head coaches.

Therefore, if you are not sure why the mainly white group of coaches and administrators will encourage a group of athletes, mostly blacks, to resume practice, even if COVID-19 cases are increasing in states such as Florida and South Carolina, remember that wealthy decision makers have little to do with risk. Money motivates the desire to save the college football season this fall, but the race is at the heart of it all.

When the Sports Association of Ontario Colleges announced the closure of sports in June, President Nathan McFadden clearly defined priorities.

“This is a difficult but necessary decision to protect the health and well-being of all our student athletes,” he said in a press release.

Compare McFadden’s reaction to Oklahoma’s football coach Mike Gandhi’s response when asked in April about the game this fall.

“They are 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22 years old, healthy and able to fight the virus,” Gandhi told Sports Illustrated in an interview. “We isolate them and continue because we need to spend some money through Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma state trainer Mike Gandhi dismissed concerns that his players would contract COVID-19 if the fall football season came, saying it was important to “run some money through Oklahoma.” (Associated Press)

Gandhi, who earned $ 5.13 million last season, is one of a long list of people whose income probably depends on playing college football on a schedule that looks like normal. Players do not receive cash, but everyone, from television networks to stadium working concessions, has a financial interest in continuing.

But Gundy made this statement before COVID-19 affairs piled up in college’s major football programs. Last month, Clemson’s 23 players tested positive, as did 37 members of the North Carolina sports department last week. In late June, more than 30 Louisiana players were isolated after the outbreak of COVID-19.

Gandhi also gave this interview before the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The 46-year-old died breathlessly when Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd’s death was a public phenomenon that sparked protests around the world and prompted industries from professional sports to the media to explore how racism forms a way of doing business.

Subsequent shocks even thundered in college football.

In mid-June, Gandhi was photographed in a T-shirt with the One America News logo, the far-right broadcast network best known for its programs supporting Donald Trump and promoting unsubstantiated conspiracy theories – similar to the one claiming to have created a new coronavirus. in the laboratory – like the truth.

Prior to George Floyd, Gandhi may have been left without any problems for promoting a network that a news expert could gently describe as interference with Trumpist propaganda. But after George Floyd, even with the fact that even the Washington NFL team is posting Black Lives Matter support on social media, the OAN shirt could not escape verification, and Gandhi could not avoid the consequences.

“I will not be for it” Star running on Twitter and Sherwood Park, Alta. native forelock hubbard, “This is completely insensitive to everything that happens in society. “I will not do anything with Oklahoma until everything changes.”

This tweet triggered a series of posts on the social networks of former Oklahoma state players claiming that Gandhi usually made racist comments, and the video-recorded promise of Gandhi to make him better as black players, even when school investigations cleared him of racist behavior.

Hubbard challenged his coach publicly because, for the moment in history, he felt he could win. His statistics – he led the 1st division of the NCAA with 2094 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019 – marked him as the best player in Oklahoma and is best prepared to win the public power struggle with Gandhi. This spring, an activist among black athletes of the NCAA gave him an impetus.

In Florida, players threatened to boycott after head coach Mike Norwell falsely stated that he had a one-on-one conversation with all the players on his team about the racial calculations that followed Floyd’s death. University of Texas football players pledged to stop helping with recruitment if the school didn’t stop playing Texas Eyes, a 19th-century song with racist lyrics at UT sports events. And in Clemson, current and former footballers joined the movement to exclude the name of slave owner John Calhoun from university college with honors.

We did not see a boycott against COVID-19, but we could not blame the players for refusing, given the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on color communities. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19 four times more often than white people.,

If football programs offered to conduct COVID-19 testing without any conditions and provide medical assistance to high-risk students, we could feel better when black athletes were called back to the campus. But Gandhi laid out a game plan in April. It’s about money. Black athletes from the working class earn money to subsidize non-profitable sports, to invest in creating a larger football program and to finance the salary of a seven-person head coach.

In neutral times, it’s rather soulless to expect that the unpaid work of black athletes will drive the college’s entire sports economy. But during a pandemic, it’s cruel to expect them to risk their lives.

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