In normal times, college football players are seen by administrators as cash cows for universities. Under coronavirus, more than ever, other students are, too. And whether it’s student-athletes suffering severe injury or fans risking illness, both are considered expendable in the pursuit of profit.
Nathan Kalman-Lamb is the author of Game Misconduct: Injury, Fandom, and the Business of Sport and co-author with Gamal Abdel-Shehid of Out of Left Field: Social Inequality and Sports. He is a Lecturing Fellow at Duke University, where he teaches on social inequality and sports.
The Cold War may be over, but its rhetoric demonizing the former Eastern Bloc and valorizing the United States isn’t. Nowhere is that clearer than in popular sport history productions like ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcast Heavy Medals and the Netflix documentary Athlete A, chronicling the abuse of elite gymnasts.
A new California law will allow college athletes the right to profit off of their name and likeness. It’s a welcome step toward compensating such athletes for their labor. But the rot at the heart of the NCAA goes much deeper than wages.
The National Football League kicks off yet another season tonight — and with it, another season of severe brain damage for players. To confront the costs of football head on, we need solidarity between players and fans that can put the well-being of athletic workers first.
The Stanley Cup Finals begin tonight. The players on the ice face staggering levels of exploitation and abuse.