Jan 7th, 2022 |
88: “National Champions”: Hollywood Does Athletes’ Rights (again)
On December 10th, 2021, Hollywood debuted its most recent depiction of corruption in college sports with the release of “National Champions.” The setting is this years’ football championship game (the “College Football Championship” rather than the “College Football Playoff”) between teams from the SEC and Big 12. The African American Heisman Trophy-winning SEC quarterback joins forces with a less talented white teammate to boycott the title game. The hastily conceived boycott begins in earnest 73 hours before kick-off. Filled with forced plot lines and the best intentions, “National Champions” serves up fumble after fumble in its attempt at relevant social commentary. This episode discusses the movie and contrasts the Hollywood version of self-help labor tactics with the realities of those complex options. In 2022, we will likely see more discussion of labor rights and athlete options. However, as with all NCAA/Power 5 regulatory issues, the real battle lines will be drawn in the trenches of federal litigation and stealth lobbying in Congress. Revenue-producing athletes are nowhere near prepared to effectively pull off a self-help labor option outside the protections of federal and state labor laws.