A group of Pac-12 football players have threatened to boycott the upcoming season, if the league does not address concerns about COVID-19, racial inequality, and fair compensation for athletes. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, perhaps the sport’s biggest star, has taken notice.
The group of Pac-12 players publicized a list of their demands on Saturday in The Players Tribune. The list is pretty detailed, and much of it very reasonable. The group broke things down into four basic groups: 1.) health and safety protocols, 2.) protecting sports, in response to the decision of Pac-12 member Stanford and other schools scrapping programs this year, 3.) ending racial injustice in college sports and society, and 4. economic freedom and equity.
Washington cornerback Elijah Molden, an All-American and All-Pac-12 honoree in 2019, had a very thoughtful response to the list. “It is exciting to be a part of a conference that is bold enough to challenge a flawed institution and fight to have our voices heard,” he wrote on Twitter. “This is a long time coming and I fully support the sentiment of the boycott.”
Molden said that while there are “a few (demands) he cannot get on board with,” calling them unrealistic, he knows that the point of the release is to drive the conversation towards getting college sports to a better place for athletes. “So I ask you all, please question your emotionally charged reaction to the news. Instead of reacting quickly, consider the entire situation… see both sides and remember that the situation isn’t binary,” he added. His note has the endorsement of Lawrence, who is as influential as it gets in college football circles.
Really well said https://t.co/niUC1Yv0Oz
— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 2, 2020
Entering his junior season, Trevor Lawrence hasn’t been afraid to use his platform to speak out an issues that college football players historically haven’t touched. He was one of the first high-profile white players to lend words of support to the Black community in the wake of murder of George Floyd, which had a ripple effect through the Clemson program.
It seems unlikely that the potential future No. 1 pick joins in on something as significant as a player boycott, but his willingness to openly acknowledge it and support aspects of it is significant.
It is unclear what the outcome of this potential Pac-12 football player boycott will be, but as the Northwestern football unionization push did a few years ago, it should at least help push the ongoing fight for college athlete empowerment forward.