Pac-12 football players say they won't play until COVID concerns addressed

By RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer Updated 8:04 am PDT, Sunday, August 2, 2020

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A group of Pac-12 football players say they will not practice or play until their concerns about playing during the COVID-19 pandemic and other racial and economic issues in college sports are addressed.

The players posted a statement Sunday on The Players' Tribune website and social media with the hashtag #WeAreUnited and sent out a press release. The release listed the names of 12 Pac-12 players, including Oregon star safety Jevon Holland, and provided a statement from each one.

It says hundreds of players throughout the Pac-12 are concerned about the risks of COVID-19 and that the conference and NCAA lack transparency, uniformity and adequate enforcement infrastructure.

The players' list of demands addresses healthy and safety protections related to COVID-19; protection for all college sports programs from being eliminated by budget cuts; racial injustice in college sports; and economic rights and compensation for college athletes, including 50% of each sport’s total conference revenue distributed evenly among athletes in their respective sport.

"We should be included in equitably sharing the revenue our talents generate, especially in a pandemic," the statement reads.

Two of their requests include asking league commissioner Larry Scott, "administrators, and coaches to voluntarily and drastically reduce excessive pay" and to end performance and academic bonuses.

“This is important to me because I want to see the young men that are being exploited by the PAC12 & NCAA have the right to earn money for their families," Holland said in a statement. “I want the safety of my peers lives to be placed higher than the sport they play. If we are treated like employees then we should be compensated as such.”

The other players listed were:

Jaydon Grant of Oregon State; Treyjohn Butler of Stanford; Jake Curhan, Joshua Drayden and Valentino Daltoso of California; Elisha Guidry of UCLA; Malik Hausman of Arizona; Dallas Hobbs of Washington State; Ty Jones and Joe Tryon of Washington and Cody Shear of Arizona State.

"Talking about Black Lives Matter as a social issue, the wealth gap is such a huge part of it," Daltoso told Sports Illustrated. "Guys who come from low-income backgrounds, when they leave to go school they can go back to having nothing. One small group of people are pulling in all the money when it could go to so many communities."


SFGATE reporter Katie Dowd contributed to this story.

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