Though I am a die-hard Michigan fan, I am a big believer in Tom Izzo at Michigan State. And I am a huge fan of Draymond Green, a Saginaw native, now of the Golden State Warriors, who has great grit, and is completely down-to-earth. But I’m disappointed in Draymond, who has just announced that he will be donating $3.1 million to MSU athletics. This is not unlike the sharecropper, having left the property some years earlier, where he toiled with no guarantee, no wage, and no accumulated assets, walking back down the road to announce to his former landowner/lessor that he would want to give him, gratis, some of the millions which he has accumulated since he last departed. Draymond does not recognize that he has already, through the course of his four years of service at MSU, donated millions to that school.
But here’s how Draymond’s good-hearted, misguided charitable instincts are related to the NLRB’s recent stunning, cowardly refusal to ‘exercise jurisdiction’ regarding the Northwestern football player’s unionizing efforts. They both reveal the central defect in the entire college football business model: in terms of sector-based bargaining and power, the players are, once again, bereft: left with not just no power, but no basis for aggregating as a sector, or group, to advance and protect their interests. So the ‘little guy’ at the heart of the entire college sports business model continues to grovel at the feet of the new academic/aristocrats who rule the business.
Draymond should take his money, and gather with other wealthy (primarily black) athlete-celebrities, to donate to a non-profit fund which will be used to allow current college athletes to get access to legal counsel which will protect their interests. (Some of the black Michigan sports giants should join in to found this non-profit: Jalen Rose, Magic, Jeter, Chris Webber, etc. )