If college football players are competing this fall…

…then every single one of them and their families must have the legal right to sue their institution if they die from coronavirus, or if they’re diagnosed with any medical condition that limits their future earnings power because they contracted coronavirus.

Any argument other than the major conferences want to play football because of the money it will generate is a lie.

In this arrangement, college football players are little more than money-making chattel, on campus — especially if their fellow students are ensconced at home and taking their classes via remote instruction — simply to generate money for the institution. That whole “raising school spirit” doesn’t apply if the students are learning from home.

If the players and their families don’t have the right to sue, then their institutions are stating clearly these young men are disposable.

At least three major universities — and all of them play major college football — have announced over the past 48 hours they’re moving classes online. In two cases, that decision is in effect for the entirety of the fall semester, and it means few students will be on campus from now until the end of the fall term in December. Logic tells us more institutions — especially those with a large number of students or located in states where coronavirus remains rampant — will eventually make the same decision.

Therefore, please show me any ethical compass that points positively toward any plan in which students are off campus but football players are on it. At the same time, please show me any ethical compass that points to supporting any state governor who remains adamant that any school, kindergarten through college, ought to stay open if coronavirus cases are spiraling out of control in that state.

Spare me the line that says “but if the campus is open…” If the campus is open, then that means the institution’s leaders have determined it’s safe for classes to be held. You know, educating students, which is the principal mission of every college or university.

Also spare me the response that says “the players want to play.” Of course, they do; if they didn’t, then they shouldn’t be part of the team. However, it’s incumbent on college and university leaders to be the adults who must deliver the unvarnished truth: “We want you to play, but there’s a risk. And we won’t let you take that risk.”

Also spare me the argument that says “many high schools are playing.” Yes, and those that wish to risk the health, and potentially the lives, of teenagers can live with their conscience. More importantly, if college leaders made the ethical decision not to play and then delivered that message to the high school level, the pressure on high school administrators to do the right thing would increase.

Also spare me the line that goes something like this: “So, do we take all cars off the road because people die in accidents?” If cars were unsafe, yes, they’d be taken off the road. (If airplanes were considered unsafe, they’d be grounded. Boeing 737MAX ring a bell?) Coronavirus is not an accident brought about by a design failure; it’s a deadly pandemic, and it’s killed more people in the U.S. than any other country around the world.

I know many of you are tired of reading my posts. I’m either the wimpy liberal, determined to weaken the fabric of the country, or I’m the guy who simply won’t shut up.

That’s fine. Hey, my conscience is clear.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.