Pac-12 Football Players Launch #WeAreUnited, Will Opt Out If Health Demands Aren’t Met
The players are threatening to opt out if their demands are not met before the season
Though sports have returned already, with varying degrees of success, not everyone involved is excited to get back to the action. On that note, football players from the Pac-12 conference have launched the #WeAreUnited campaign, which threatens to opt out of the upcoming college football season if their demands for player safety, racial equality, and financial health are not met.
Writing for The Players Tribune, the group of players, who are not identified individually, say that they are united in the cause and will, as a group, boycott the season if their list of 17 demands, broken up into four major categories, are not met ahead of the season:
#WeAreUnited in our commitment to secure fair treatment for college athletes. Due to COVID-19 and other serious concerns, we will opt-out of Pac-12 fall camp and game participation unless the following demands are guaranteed in writing by our conference to protect and benefit both scholarship athletes and walk-ons.
The categories for the demands are as follows: Health & Safety Protections, Protect All Sports, End Racial Injustice in College Sports and Society, and Economic Freedom and Equity. Broken down, the players hope that the conference can guarantee a minimum amount of risk for COVID-19 once football activities resume, a move to redirect funds to save sports from being cancelled due to the pandemic’s financial effects, a greater commitment to social causes, and ensuring that players are financially taken care of during these times and in the future.
This is the strongest move by any group of college athletes towards self-determining their future, and puts pressure on the NCAA to either commit to paying student-athletes or to allow them to sit out the season to avoid the risk of catching coronavirus. Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Cal offensive lineman Valentino Daltoso said that the only way these changes happen are if the players stick together:
The way to affect change and the way to get your voice heard is to affect the bottom line. Our power as players comes from being together. The only way to do this is to do something collectively.
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