LeBron James might be America’s most visible labor activist right now — and he’s garnering support from Bernie Sanders

Lebron James

LeBron James recently tweeted in support of a bill that would allow college athletes to get paid for endorsements, part of his larger effort to decrease NCAA restrictions on paying players and agents.
James has advocated for player rights throughout his career — from opening doors for players to switch teams easily, to structuring NBA contracts for greater flexibility and higher salaries.
The three-time NBA champion also created several media endeavours that center player voices and allow them to advocate for themselves, instead of through the mouths of media pundits.
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As athletes break bones and work endlessly for a chance to play, team executives trade “loyal” players freely as a part of the business, or reap millions while college athletes can’t get paid.

Now, the country’s most famous male athlete is continuing to fight for more player leverage over organizations.

And he helped spark the era of “player empowerment” in the first place.

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“The idea of athlete autonomy — of a player having more control and power over his or her own career, of not just being an employee of an owner who is not the one out running and dunking — has caught on in the public consciousness in a way it had failed to before,” Will Leitch, noted sports journalist and the founder of Deadspin, wrote for NBC News. “James’ move [to Miami] was the instigating act.”

Here are all the ways James has advocated for player and labor rights during his career:

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James just tweeted his support for one of the most controversial topics in college sports: paying players.

California lawmakers passed the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” a bill that allows college athletes to get paid for endorsements. The legislation bypasses an NCAA ban on players receiving any money outside of scholarships.

Shortly before the vote, James urged California residents to call their representative and vocalize their support for the bill, calling it a “game changer.” Bernie Sanders piggybacked on James’ statement.

“College athletes are workers,” Sanders said in a tweet. “Pay them.”

Tweet Embed:
California can change the game. This is only right waaaayy overdue. #morethananathlete

Currently, the NCAA gives Division I players full scholarships to cover tuition, housing, books, and more. Division II players may get lesser scholarships, and Division III players don’t get anything.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said paying football and basketball players would eliminate other sports, as the first two get the most attention. He also spoke out against the California bill, threatening to ban the state’s schools from competing in NCAA championships.

“As drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships,” Emmert wrote in a …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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