Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jack Johnson and Black Hopes

As the story has been told endless times, when Jack Johnson became the heavyweight champion after defeating Tommy Burns 105 years ago, the white press started a quest for a white hope to rescue the championship back. However, the press quickly learned that white heavyweights could not defeat Johnson, and the other top fighters, Sam McVey, Sam Langford, and Joe Jeannette, were black men. In 1911, one writer nervously reported “We [white people] don’t seem to have advanced much further in our investigations as to the identity of the white man who is to wrest the crown of supremacy from the colored race.”  The writer went on to declare, “We want a real good man, too and we want him badly. With Sam McVey making almost even break of it with Langford, the four top places must be conceded to the representatives of the colored race. . . .  Either could almost certainly have disposed, with ease, of the very best white man in the world, and the conclusion is not a very gratifying one.” Fearing that white fighters could not beat Johnson, and realizing that Johnson’s well-documented “bad Nigger” antics became increasingly more threatening to whites, the white press started to promote other “colored champions” to beat Johnson. In other words, they would settle for a black hope, as long as he was deemed a good black. As Lester A. Walton of the black newspaper the New York Age noted “After searching every nook and corner of the earth for a ‘white hope’ to give Champion Jack Johnson a serious argument at fisticuffs, and all to no good purpose, those most active in this world-wide search have hit upon another plan of attack—to try and recapture the championship title through a black hope.”

The two favorites were Joe Jeannette and Sam Langford. Jeannette had respectable qualities that whites could live with. “Although some people look down upon Negroes, no white man ever conducted himself better in any branch of the sport than Joe Jeannette,” reasoned one white writer. Jeannette had “the good will of the white people” and was a credit to his race. The white press also loved Sam Langford. His nickname, the “Boston Tarbaby,” conjured up images of the old plantation days of the docile Negro. At one point, Langford even went as far as suggesting “I may be colored, but I’ve got a white heart,” signifying that he was safe for whites unlike Johnson.

For the white press, the issue of sex and marriage was never far from the conversation in context of Johnson and the black hopes. The press clamored for a hope in the ring, because Johnson challenged white men’s claim to physical superiority and sexual power. On the subject marriage and family, a writer for the New Orleans Picayune noted “There has been more scandal connected with Jack Johnson since he became prominent in pugilism than there was with the names of all the other negro boxers put together. Take the case of Jeannette and Langford” the paper noted “they are both married men who follow fighting for the sake of earning enough to keep their families as comfortable as they can.” The writer finished by noting that Johnson, on the other hand, was a black man whose “private life has been such that it has often been wondered that any well-regulated community would stand for him, and he has done more to turn people against black fighters than all the men of his race put together.” In 1910, while promoting his client for the championship, Sam Langford’s manager told a southern newspaper that Langford and Johnson were two different types of blacks. Under the byline that read “Negroes but Different,” his manager tried to convince white southerners that Langford saved his money while Johnson would die a pauper, and he also noted that Langford bought a home for his wife in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Remarks like that played perfectly in the South, since white Southerners hated the nomad Johnson constantly parading around with white women.

Langford’s quest to unseat Johnson did not sit well with some black newspapermen. Even though he reportedly lived clean and harbored their middle-class values, they did not trust Langford as champion. In August 1910, after hearing a rumor that Langford would dope Johnson if they fought and then let a white man beat him, a writer remarked, “To think such a villainous plot should be hatched against our noble Jack, and for one of his own race to participate in it, gives us much pain.” The paper further suggested that Langford had a lot to learn about being a race man, and that “if he will but walk in the noble footsteps of the first colored champion of the world, he will teach these petty whites that the time for buying and selling a Negro has long since passed.” Four years later in 1914 after Johnson said he would fight Langford, a black reporter claimed blacks were afraid of Langford and would “have no particular love for him.” The paper added that rumors suggesting Langford would let a white fighter beat him “make even their [blacks] regard for him grow less.” This contempt only lasted until Jess Willard defeated Johnson in April 1915. Soon after Willard became the champion, the black press supported Langford as the next rightful champion. Unfortunately for Langford and other black fighters until 1937, white champions continued to draw the color line.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Adrien Broner: Cautionary Tale or Trickster

The history of boxing is full of cautionary tales of fighters who have quickly achieved fame and fortune and lost it all just as fast. The attraction of the sporting culture, or living a fast life, did them in. As the great fighter George Dixon once indicated, “I lost my money by gambling, playing the races, leading a fast life and by lending my money to friends.” Dixon, who was the first black champion (1890,) and a hero in the black community, squandered nearly $250,000 in his career and died a broke in 1908. Like many boxers, then and today, he spent the last years of his career trying to catch that elusive payday. When he could no longer fight he died friendless and penniless. “No instance seems more pathetic than the career of George Dixon,” recounted one white writer. For his generation, Dixon became a poster child for white writers as a cautionary tale for the black prizefighter. For example, one writer observed that “it seems to be an unfortunate trait with the colored fighters that they have not sense enough to lay up a little of worldly goods against the coming of old age. Practically every one of them has been an object of charity at some time or other.” According to many observers, black fighters had a racial pathology that predisposed them to spending money on worthless items. The fact that these pugilists lacked manly responsibility fit into stereotypes of the child-like happy-go-lucky black minstrel character.
In many ways, the public still views the black athlete as the man-child waiting to lose it all. For example, in a recent Sports Illustrated article entitled “Problem Child,” writer Chris Mannix explores the quick rise to fame of black prizefighter Adrien Broner. Broner, who lost for the first time on Saturday, goes by the nickname “The Problem,” and is equally known for his skills in the ring as for his antics outside the squared circle. Broner once posted images of himself flushing $20 bills down the toilet. In his article, Mannix falls into the common trope of writing about Broner as a immature black man unprepared for the economic fortunes of a professional athlete. Mannix notes “many wonder: Are we witnessing the rise of boxing’s next big thing or the early rounds of another cautionary tale?” But is it possible Broner is playing us? After all, coming into his last fight Broner was one of the most marketable fighters in the game.

In his blog, the brilliant sportswriter Morgan Campbell wrote that Broner “is, depending on your perspective, a bad guy, a buffoon, or a coon. And it works for him — when he fights even mainstream sports fans tune in to see if somebody will knock that smirk off his face.” In other words, Broner has played the role of the trickster and used the historical contempt for the young black athlete and America’s belief in black pathology to sell more tickets. With his antics and braggadocios attitude, Broner tricked the public into hating him. According to Campbell, “It has everything to do with entertainment, and the entertainment value in a Broner bout is the hope that whoever they line up against him will give him the beating he’s been baiting. And that hope springs from Broner’s antics and arrogance, and the idea that he deserves to lose for disrespecting fans, opponents and the sport.” Whereas others see Broner’s antics as a cautionary tale, Campbell urges on the trickster and asks him to keep “trolling.”

I see both a cautionary tale and the trickster in Broner. He has brilliantly followed the path Floyd “Money” Mayweather blazed in selling a notion of so-called black pathology to stardom, but Broner has also had many brushes with the law and seems to like his drink a bit too much. As a person who studies the history of black fighters, as see parallels with Harry Woodson, the first black boxing star from Cincinnati.

Like Broner, Woodson, “The Black Diamond,” grew up in poverty. Born a slave in Kentucky in 1855, and raised by his mom in the notorious levee district in Cincinnati, Ohio, Woodson used boxing as his way out. His mother, Winnie, operated a bar and brothel and trouble frequently found the establishment. Both Woodson and his mother had their lives threatened, had been stabbed, and Woodson had been shot in a gambling dispute.  In 1882, he escaped the drudge work of a riverman and the hard world of the levee and turned his fighting propensities into a lucrative profession. A Cincinnati Enquirer writer noted he was a “fine specimen of manhood,” and “a well-scienced and powerful man…” Like Broner, he had a quick rise to the top of the pugilist rankings.  Within a year he had fought for the Colored Championship. Despite losing that title fight to Professor Charles Hadley of Connecticut he remained one of the more popular fighters in America. Unfortunately for Woodson, the sporting life style caught up to him. In September 1887, a porter from Chicago killed him for sleeping with his wife. Woodson, who had reportedly been drunk for 3 straight days, was in the city to provide muscle at his mom’s saloon.

In reality, a poor black man in the 1880s had very few options. Boxing was Woodson’s only way out. The sporting lifestyle gave the “Black Diamond” comfort from his hard life. Like Woodson, Broner seems to find escape and comfort in the sporting life, but Woodson’s story doesn’t have to be Broner’s reality. I don’t mind if Broner continues to play the role of the trickster, but for his case, I hope he avoids some of his self-destructive behavior of Woodson and George Dixon.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Question of Manhood: Jonathan Martin, Self-Defense, and Black Manhood

While the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation is creating a necessary conversation about bullying, a discussion about black manhood is also bubbling to the surface. Surprisingly, Incognito’s black teammates have come to his defense with one even calling him an “honorary black man.” The teammate clarified this awkward comment, adding “I don’t expect you to understand because you’re not black. But being a black guy, being a brother is more than just about skin color. It’s about how you carry yourself. How you play. Where you come from. What you’ve experienced. A lot of things.” Within the Dolphin locker room, it seems as if many teammates viewed the Stanford-educated Martin as Carlton Banks and thought because of his middle-class background he wasn’t a real black man and needed to be toughened up. This situation goes beyond petty classism, however; it also highlights a question about black masculinity and self-defense.

To be clear, I am not supporting his critics’ actions, but it is important to try and understand where black criticism of Martin is coming from. Incognito threatened to “s***” in Martin’s mouth, slap his mother, and kill Martin. [Note: some teammates say this was a joke.] In a number of black players’ summation, a real man would have stood up to the racist bully and confronted Incognito like a man. As Jackie Robinson once said, “The most luxurious possession, the richest treasure anybody has, is his personal dignity.” While players’ disdain of Incognito reeks of jock culture, it is also clear that Martin’s black critics are operating from a perspective that has historically linked self-defense to black manhood. We see this connection in the words of Frederick Douglass when he remembered his fight with the overseer Covey: “This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning-point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood.” In the 1880s black newspaperman T. Thomas Fortune told his readers, “If it is necessary for colored men to turn themselves into outlaws to assert their manhood and their citizenship, let them do it.” Self-defense and black manhood are interlinked in Claude McKay’s poem “If We Must Die,” when he implores black men to fight back against their racist attackers. Malcolm X famously critiqued Martin Luther King’s nonviolence tactics, when he noted “Those days are over, they’re gone, that’s yesterday. The time for you and me to allow ourselves to be brutalized nonviolently is passé. Be nonviolent only with those who are nonviolent to you.” Instead of nonviolence, Malcolm X believed that blacks had a manly right and a duty to protect themselves.

The connection between self-defense and manhood is also part of the history of the black sporting experience. For example, civil rights legend Paul Robeson, an All-American football player at Rutgers and the quintessential example of black manhood during the 20th century, had to fight back against his bullying teammates. In his early days at Rutgers, Robeson’s teammates physically and verbally brutalized him. He wanted to quit, but he knew he had to prove his own manhood and protect young black boys “who wanted to play football, and wanted to go to college, and, as their representative,” Robeson had to prove he “could take whatever was handed out...” To demonstrate his manliness, Robeson, a defensive tackle, violently grabbed one of his teammates during a scrimmage and “was going to smash him so hard to the ground that I’d break him in two.” After that outburst of self-defense, his teammates never bothered him again. While Martin’s critics may not be familiar with any of the above stories, their remarks have tapped into the same line of thinking that manhood and self-defense are interlinked. But there are many layers to black manhood.

Martin’s critics miss the reality that it takes courage to avoid physical confrontation. Being nonviolent, as Martin Luther King often said, is not for cowards.  As his weapon of protest Jonathan Martin boycotted the Miami Dolphins and their culture of bullying. “One must remember” King wrote about nonviolence, “that the cause of the demonstration is some exploitation or form of oppression that has made it necessary for men of courage and good will to demonstrate against evil.” The demonstrator, in this case Jonathan Martin, “agrees that it is better for him to suffer publically.” Black teammates and other NFL player’s tried to assassinate Jonathan Martin’s character by calling into question his manhood, but it was Jonathan Martin’s brave stance against racial hate, not a cowardly retreat, that has opened our eyes to the “evil” of bullying in the NFL.

Friday, November 1, 2013

From Jackie to Dez: Race, Sports, and the Black Attitude

The Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant’s outburst on the sidelines last Sunday raises interesting questions about race, rage, and the black athlete. While some commentators berated Bryant for his supposed immaturity, others TV personalities, especially retired black players like Keyshawn Johnson, noted that the star wide receiver was exhibiting passion and a desire to win. The debate showcases that there is a very fine line between immaturity and passion, and for many people race is the barrier that separates the two terms. For example, future Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens created controversy when he claimed that when white athletes like Tom Brady yell on the sidelines at teammates and coaches they are seen as passionate and full of heart, whereas black players are seen as selfish and immature. While many dismissed TO because he is TO, Owens raised an important observation about how the media has historically viewed the black athlete.  In challenging their bias, TO tapped into his inner Jackie Robinson.

According to Robinson, when Branch Rickey finally allowed his star player to show emotions, Jackie quickly realized that the media treated his passion differently than white players. “Very soon,” Jackie claimed “I learned that as long as I appeared to ignore insult and injury, I was a martyred hero to a lot of people who seemed to have sympathy for the underdog.  But the minute I began to answer, to argue, to protest—the minute I began to sound off—I became a swellhead, a wise guy, an ‘uppity’ nigger.” However, Robinson realized when “a white player did it he had spirit. When a black player did it, he was ‘ungrateful,’ an upstart, a sorehead.”  If Jackie spoke his mind he became a “‘pop-off,’ a ‘troublemaker,’ a ‘rabble-rouser.”’ Robinson remembered, “it was apparent that I was a fine guy” until “‘Success went to his head,’ until I began to ‘change.”’ In other words, the media expected their black athletes to be quiet, humble, and grateful for their opportunity to get paid to play sports.  But why was/is this? Why see whites’ antics differently?

The rise of sports in post-Civil War America coincided with a crisis in white masculinity. In short, the white middle class worried that they lacked necessary aggression, virility, or physicality and sports were supposed to be an anecdote to modernization and softness. Teddy Roosevelt, for example, wrote about the “strenuous life,” and the importance of sports in America, saying “I have always been fond of boxing, and have always believed in it as a vigorous, manly pastime, one of those pastimes which have a distinct moral and physical value, because they encourage such essential virtues as courage, hardihood, endurance and self-control.” At the turn of the century when reformers tried to ban boxing and football, Mayor Carter Harrison II of Chicago claimed “if you legislate against football and boxing, the next generation will be a generation of sissy boys. I intend to teach my boy how to box and how to play football. I think such sports make boys manly. The Lord help this country if we knock out boxing and football.” In this context to have spirit, vigor, hardihood, or “passion” in sports was signs of manly maturity and a component of whiteness.

On the other hand, the natural inclination was to think the black athlete lacked these positive manly characteristics. Instead he was often deemed to be yellow, without pluck, hot headed, a braggart, and with child-like immaturity. “The question has often been asked,” one reported noted, “has the Negro the grit and the staying qualities of the white pugilist?” In other words, they assumed the black fighter lacked manly toughness, he was less than a man, and had to prove otherwise. But manliness came at a price. The black athlete had to be docile and humble too. For example, the white press celebrated boxer Joe Gans because Gans was “meek and humble,” in comparison to other black men who would “put on” and “swelled up and burst with inflated pride” in front of a crowd.  Early in his career Jack Johnson was praised as being “a well behaved, orderly negro.” And the great fighter Peter Jackson was “frequently called the whitest black man who ever lived.” “Jackson’s main assets” one writer reflected “were his excellent behaviour [sic] and his sportsmanlike qualities. He was never known to boast.” Any deviation from acting humble, staying quiet, and being restrained, the white press attacked the black athlete as being immature.

Jackie Robinson had to face that assault on his character, Terrell Owens battled this, and Dez Bryant continues to struggle against this character assassination.  While Bryant and Owens never had to face the racist animosity that Robinson battled, and the star receivers are not civil rights icons, like Robinson they want respect.  In many ways, viewing Bryant’s tirade on the sideline as passionate and not immature is recognizing that Bryant has manly virtues that sports cultivate.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Color of Money: A Brief History of the NCAA, TV, and HBCUs

While the recent strike by Grambling football players highlights the long history of separate and unequal funding for black colleges, the school’s financial woes also illuminates a history of financial racial discrimination by the NCAA that has hindered HBCUs ability to earn revenue. The roots of this problem start with the expansion of the NCAA as an economic cartel in the late 1940s and their power move to take over TV contracts.

With the development of television, colleges from across the country scrambled to sign TV contracts to take advantage of this new money making opportunity. However, arguing that too many TV contracts flooded the market, diminished advertising revenue, and crippled attendance, the NCAA took over TV contracts in 1951, effectively becoming a monopoly. Although black colleges were only affiliated members of the NCAA, this relationship with the cartel meant that the colleges lost the power to sign their own TV contracts. This uneven economic relationship came to the forefront in 1953 when a company wanted to telecast 10 CIAA games, but the NCAA denied them the opportunity. With TV ownership in America moving from 10% to 90% in the 1950s, and more students matriculating to colleges because of the GI Bill, playing on TV surely would have brought in necessary publicity to attract potential students, and create a revenue stream to help supplement their meager Jim Crow state funding, allowing black colleges to invest in their athletic facilities. This latter point would become especially important after integration when black colleges had to compete with the previously Jim Crowed institutions that had better facilities, especially bigger stadiums to generate revenue. In fact, the NCAA and their TV affiliates ABC and CBS did not telecast any black colleges until 1971, leaving great teams like Tennessee State, FAMU, and Grambling off of TV. Highlighting the ridiculousness of this situation was the reality that these teams had some of the best players in the country. For example, pro teams drafted 10 defenders from the 1966 Tennessee State squad, and the famed Grambling football team had produced 70 pro football players by 1969, and had 34 players in pro leagues that year.

Under the leadership of Eddie Robinson, Grambling was the biggest show in black college sports and the pride of black America. In 1969, the Tigers played to crowds of more than 60,000 in back-to-back weeks in Los Angeles and New York. Their ability to attract fans finally caught the NCAA’s attention and Grambling played in the first nationally televised game featuring black schools in 1971, netting the Tigers and their opponent Morgan State $200,000. The following year Fisk and Fort Valley State played in the first regionally televised game featuring black colleges. While Grambling continued to make money during the 1970s—in 1975 they cleared nearly $725,000 and had made a million dollars by the time Doug Williams was a senior in 1977—most black colleges struggled to survive, because the NCAA’s contract limited the amount of times a station had to telecast a small college. For example, a two year-contract with ABC in 1978-79 stipulated that the station only had to telecast 11 Division I-AA appearances. Each Division I-AA team they showed constituted one appearance.  In 1978, ABC showed 5 games featuring I-AA teams, including Jackson State, Southern, and FAMU, which played 3 times netting the school roughly $333,000. But this meant that ABC only had to show 1 game the following year, and they filled that slot with Grambling and Alcorn. Meanwhile, ESPN only showed one black team, FAMU.  Despite losing a lot of talent to the previously Jim Crowed schools, black colleges arguably had the best players. In 1980, Grambling, Jackson State, and Tennessee State each had 23 players in the NFL, more than any other school. Without TV appearances, however, black colleges increasingly lost the ability to invest in their facilities and continue to attract top talent and compete with the newly integrated Division I schools. Only Tennessee State made the leap to Division I trying to chase those TV dollars, but discrimination tripped them up. Despite going 9-1 in 1980, for example, no bowls selected the great team, prompting a number of black sportswriters to advocate a black boycott of bowl games. A year later, the combination of a bad economy, budget cuts, slagging attendance, and lack of TV revenue, the storied program was losing money and facing the reality of losing football.

 The changing TV market during the 1980s kept hindering black college football. In 1981, under the College Football Association, 61 major schools bucked the NCAA and made their own contract with TV networks. The big schools left the NCAA, because they did not want to share their money with smaller colleges. This move, which was legalized in 1984, effectively shut out black schools from the potential $200,500 they would receive under the NCAA contract, because they were not part of the CFA and CFA schools were not going to play them.  FAMU athletic director Roosevelt Wilson, noted “This CFA thing is strictly a big-boy-on-the-black proposition. What they are looking to do is tie up all the TV money and keep it away from the smaller schools.” Cut off from TV money, and rapidly losing their talent to the teams that played on TV, by 1985 black colleges were looking to drop to Division II so they would not have to offer has many scholarships, or drop football. The teams that survived did so with state funds, creative marketing, and signing TV contracts with smaller networks like BET.

Today, black colleges have finally found a way to make money on TV by playing top-notch Division I teams looking to fill their schedule with easy games.  Of course, this means they have to sacrifice the health of their student athletes for a paycheck. The money represents a significant portion of their athletic budget, but does not allow the teams to invest in their facilities, which would help them attract more talent, or in Grambling’s case buy necessary equipment. The fact that these once great schools are now marketing themselves as easy games to PWIs (Predominately White Institutions,) in order to make money is a reflection of the damage of years of TV discrimination rooted in the old Jim Crow policies of the NCAA and TV networks.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Players Strike Back: Howard's 11 Goes on Strike

Lately, there has been numerous writings and a lot of rhetoric about the problems of big time college sports and the exploitation of student athletes. Whether it has been discussions about Johnny Football’s right to sign autographs for a fee, Oklahoma State’s N.C.A.A violations, or Arian Foster’s revelations that he broke NCAA rules because he received money and food, each story adds a new age twist to an old school problem: how do you deal with professionalism in a sport where those with seemingly all the power in this economic racket—university presidents, conference presidents, and the NCAA—foolishly want to claim they are protecting amateurism? While most pundits are calling on the NCAA and university presidents to make a change, and a lawsuit is working its way through the courts, history tells us that players have leverage to fight their exploitation. As exploited workers they can go on strike, which would force schools to cancel games, refund money, and raise awareness to their plight. While this outcome seems far-fetched, this happened in 1936 at Howard University. With the majority of these players today at big time colleges being black athletes, I think it is even more significant the strike happened at a black college.

The roots of the 1936 Howard football strike go back to a 1927 decision by school President Dr. Mordecai Johnson to eliminate the “professionalism” of the Howard Football eleven. As the story goes, the 1924 team lost a contest to their main rivals from Lincoln University at the Thanksgiving Classic, upsetting students and alumni. Embarrassed by the defeat the new coach recruited top players from other black schools and also players whose eligibility had ran out. He also offered them room and board for the season. The 1925 and 1926 teams went undefeated. In 1927, Dr. Johnson, a star quarterback at Morehouse during his playing days who strongly believed in the amateur model, abolished recruiting, the training quarters, and training table at Howard. Yes, under the code of amateurism receiving room and board for playing football was considered professionalism. In reaction to Johnson’s act, players threated to strike and withhold their services. It was even rumored that they purposely lost a game in protest. To solve the problem, the students and alumni stepped in and helped negotiate the reinstatement of the training table and training quarters. However, without the ability to recruit players, Howard football never regained its dominance.

After years of having losing football teams and losing money, in 1936 Dr. Johnson canceled the training table and training quarters without telling the players. This forced players, many of whom were poor and lacked sufficient funds, to seek their own food and lodging. Feeling exploited, the players went on strike forcing the school to cancel the rest of the season, including the coveted money-making Thanksgiving Classic with Lincoln. The player’s strike earned the sympathy of the student body, which also went on strike for a day. Together, the players and students came up with a list of demands, which included campus jobs payable in room and board, better equipment, and better medical supplies. Unfortunately, the university did not give into the demands, and the football team continued its losing ways in 1937.

The failure to change the administration’s stance had nothing to do with the players’ tactics, but everything to do with the times. While plenty of labor strikes took place throughout the nation—workers were battling to protect gains from the New Deal—most people did not consider college athletes workers. They did not connect the plight of the working class to the student-athlete and instead deemed college athletes a privileged class of people who avoided the factory or the field and classroom. Moreover, most of the criticism about college football centered on the issue of professionalism and not the exploitation of the athletes, so the players failed to earn national sympathy and support to force a change. For example, Time Magazine, which called Howard “a happyland for white-collared U.S. Negroes,” called the football team the “root of the difficulty” at the great college. The school had just received $5,000,000 in PWA grants and the students were blemishing the reputation of the university. In the end, although the student-athletes lost their strike they created a template for other athletes willing to fight against their economic exploitation by withholding their labor. While most people are still a bit wary of connecting student-athletes to the plight of the working-class, there has been a seismic shift in the attitude towards college sports. The façade of amateurism has been peeled back, and most pundits agree that these student-athletes are exploited. The time is right to make a stand.