A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that football players at Northwestern University have the right to vote on forming a union; he's concluded that players at Northwestern are employees, not student-athletes. This won't have immediate consequences -- Northwestern plans to appeal the ruling to the full NLRB, and then the case could be litigated further:
A likely outcome is that Northwestern players hold a vote and the results are impounded while the national board reviews the case. If the decision is upheld, Northwestern will have the option to refuse to bargain with the union, which would send the case to a federal appeals court.The case could ultimately go to the Supreme Court.
I assume that if the Northwestern players are allowed a union vote, there'll be tremendous pressure on them to vote no -- rich union-hating alumni will threaten to withdraw financial support to the university and so on. I imagine this anti-unionization campaign will be egged on by Rush Limbaugh and others on the right, who are going to say that the union fight is one more battle in the "liberal war on football."
You didn't know there was such a war? Here's Limbaugh talking about the recent focus on concussions in the sport:
Just based on the way I saw the media dealing with the concussion stories that were being ramped up, I said, "I know how liberals act, how they think and what they do, and it isn't gonna be long before somebody of stature suggests the game be banned -- and once that is seriously proposed, the game is never gonna be the same." I still claim... I don't know what the ultimate fate is gonna be....At Breitbart, Daniel Flynn recently issued dark warnings about mandatory "sensitivity training, media coaching, and more harassing rules about workplace harassment" after Michal Sam announced he was gay and sexualized harassment by Richie Incognito was brought to light. Flynn is the author of a book titled The War on Football: Saving America's Game:
It'll be flag football or some such thing, but it will not exist as it does right now.... It's gonna take 20 years, but it's gonna be over.
From concussion doctors pushing "science" that benefits their hidden business interests to lawyers clamoring for billion-dollar settlements in scam litigation, America's game has become so big that everybody wants a cut. And those chasing the dollars show themselves more than willing to trash a great sport in hot pursuit of a buck.No, really -- these folks actually believe that football is "the safest sport," and that it's under attack by liberalism.
Everything they say about football is wrong. Football players don't commit suicide at elevated levels, die younger than their peers, or suffer disproportionately from heart disease. In fact, professional players live longer, healthier lives than American men in general.
But the liberal threat to football doesn't just concern sexual orientation and brain damage. As Lisa Fabrizio writes for The American Spectator, it's a multi-pronged assault on everything that is good and true and decent:
... there's been a lot of talk lately about the notion of a liberal war on football and rightly so, because the symptoms of the decline of football mirror those of this nation, which is also currently suffering under the tender mercies of liberal leadership.Is there a link between the unionization drive and this horrible war on masculinity? Well, news stories suggest that there could be:
It's not just the rule changes -- though they are many and awful -- that are generally bemoaned by everyone who loves the defensive aspects of the game, but the morphing of what was once a mirror of the American path to success through hard work and fair play into just another liberal social experiment. Much in the same way that they have used their psychobabble to confuse Americans about everything from education to gender to the weather, they have managed to convey the idea that football is some kind of esoteric rocket science; all the more reason to impose their navel-gazing ways on what was once a great game.
... it gives them another venue for encouraging minorities to vent their anger on those who so rightly deserve it: rich white men, whose crimes range from naming their teams to honor Native Americans to hiring coaches based on ability rather than skin color....
There is also the issue of male domination, which demands that women reporters invade men's locker rooms and also explains the iron-clad rule that all networks must employ at least one sideline babe to tell us things we're too stupid to see from actually watching the game. This combines well with the constant admonitions that all competitive games -- particularly ones involving males -- are dangerous health risks....
Experts said the ruling could have wide impact beyond Northwestern's locker room, potentially influencing other players, schools, and state and federal agencies. For example, McCormick said that if college players demand compensation for injuries suffered during training or a game, Ohr's opinion could raise the question of whether they should be treated as employees under the state Workers' Compensation Act.So expect the right to make this a big deal. Expect Republicans, in the future, to try to block the confirmation of any NLRB appointee (or judicial appointee) who thinks college players should have the right to unionize. And since I assume that most big donors to sports-power colleges are conservative white guys, expect the talk in the right-wing media to increase alumni anti-union pressure.
(And yeah, I know: pro athletes have been unionized for years. The right finds that tolerable because it's established -- it's sort of like Social Security and Medicare. This is like Obamacare -- it's a further "socialist" incursion, so it's intolerable.)
UPDATE: Here we go:
Former Republican Rep. Allen West is criticizing "liberal progressive socialists" following the decision Wednesday by the National Labor Relations Board to allow football players at Northwestern University to unionize.
"Well, it has happened, liberal progressive socialists have struck at my favorite sport: college football," West wrote in a post published to his Facebook page Wednesday....