Colbert Tackles NU Football Union Battle

The athletes recently received a vote of support from the National Labor Relations Board, and traveled to Capitol Hill Wednesday in hopes of gaining support from lawmakers

Thursday, Apr 3, 2014  |  Updated 12:32 PM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Federal Agency Says College Athletes Can Unionize

Stephen Colbert speaks at Northwestern University's 2011 commencement ceremony.

Photos and Videos

Kain Colter Visits Capitol Hill

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter met with lawmakers in hopes of drumming up support for college athlete unions around the country.

Federal Agency Says College Athletes Can Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled football players at Northwestern University can unionize. NBC 5's Lauren Jiggetts reports.
More Photos and Videos

Stephen Colbert returned to his comedic roots Tuesday when he took on the topic of Northwestern University’s football unionization efforts.

“Unionize? Players aren’t supposed to want money, they’re supposed to be in it for the love of selling sponsorship to Tostitos,” the Northwestern University alum said on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” Tuesday.

Colbert, who spoke at the university's 2011 commencement ceremony and received an honorary degree, quickly referenced his relationship with the school, stating that he hears “Northwestern University graduates some quality people with excellent education.”

He then went on to satirically tackle the issues addressed by former NU quarterback Kain Colter and other athletes.

“Northwestern players are not employees of the university. They don’t get paid so technically they are slaves of the university,” Colbert said.

The athletes recently received a vote of support from the National Labor Relations Board, and traveled to Capitol Hill Wednesday in hopes of gaining support from lawmakers.

"The number one thing is just raising awareness and getting people in our corner," Colter said in advance of meetings with Ill. Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Jan Schakowsky. "Especially people with this amount of status and the power that they do have, it'd be great to have their support."

Colter co-founded the College Athletes Players Association and serves on its board of directors with former basketball player Luke Bonner, and former UCLA football player Ramogi Huma, who founded the union and was a featured guest on “The Colbert Report” Tuesday.

“Now when football goes away forever I can blame unions instead of concussions,” Colbert told Huma.

Huma reiterated that CAPA says the new union is necessary to "challenge the treatment of players under the current pay-for-play system for college athletes." It cites a court case in which the NCAA stated it has no legal duty to protect college athletes from injury.

“Walk if off, tough it out, suck it up, Bear down, find that extra gear, hunker down… do these words mean nothing? Colbert replied. “We’ve seen what unions have done to employment in the United States already. Are you ready for the Ohio State University’s front line to be outsourced to Bangalore?”

Northwestern football players are set to vote on whether they will form a union on April 25. Northwestern is expected to appeal the National Labor Relations Board's ruling.

Watch the full interview here.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our Weather App
Stay ahead of the storm with the NBC... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out