Profound changes to the NFL’s free farm system could eventually bring profound changes to the NFL. The executive director of the NFL Players Association doesn’t seem to care about that.
DeMaurice Smith applauds the efforts of football players at Northwestern to unionize. In a column written for the Huffington Post, Smith (accurately) points out that men like former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter have opted to push back against the NCAA’s “shut up and play” message.
“The NCAA sells and wants college athletes to be a team everywhere except in a room where they can talk about the issues they care about,” Smith writes. “The truth is that they do not want a team that demands a response from a system that makes millions from their play.”
The system inevitably will change. For now, the “shut up and play” crowd will attempt to delay the inevitable for as long as possible, and then to finagle the best possible financial deal once change arrives.
Either way, after decades of “shut up and play,” the overwhelming message from college athletes to the universities, conferences, and NCAA should be, “Shut up and pay.”
Eventually, they will. The only question is when and how much.