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National Labor Relations Board rules in favor of Northwestern football players attempting to unionize

It’s been a couple of months since I checked in on the football players at Northwestern University who are trying to unionize, so let’s see if SI.com has anything new to report:

In what could be a potentially landmark moment for collegiate athletics, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the Northwestern football players who are attempting to form a union on Wednesday. In its ruling, the NLRB said that the players had the right to form the first labor union in the history of college sports.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA EAT IT

This was only a ruling by a regional director, so it’s going to be immediately appealed, but this is a tremendous and novel victory.

This piece I’m linking has some commentary by Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, who weighs in on the scope of the ruling and the future.

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"I wanted to wash that game away"

Mike DiGiovanna on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball beat for the Los Angeles Times:

Left-hander Hector Santiago came up with a new and peculiar way to cope with a rough outing Saturday.

After giving up six runs and five hits in five-plus innings of a triple-A game against Arizona in which his teammates made four errors behind him, Santiago drove straight from the Diamondbacks’ field in Scottsdale, Ariz., to his home in Goodyear, Ariz., bypassing the Angels’ complex in Tempe.

Santiago, whose next start will come in Dodger Stadium on Thursday night, pulled into his driveway, went to his backyard and “jumped into my swimming pool with my uniform on,” he said. “I wanted to wash that game away.”

Sports players are weird.

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NBA's Silver on openly gay pro athletes: "We fell behind"

If you haven’t heard, the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA signed veteran player Jason Collins to a 10-day contract in order to fill a hole in their roster. This is notable because in 2013, Collins publicly came out as gay. This makes him the first openly gay person to play in one of the United States’s four major professional sports leagues (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey).

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who took over the league from David Stern on February 1, had some strong words about this, as reported by Tim Bontemps for the New York Post:

"I have mixed feelings, because I’m enormously proud that the first openly gay player is playing in the NBA," Silver told The Post in a phone interview prior to Sunday’s game. "On the other hand, this is so long overdue that I don’t think this should necessarily be on the list of the greatest accomplishments of the NBA.

"This is an area where no one in sports should be too proud. Sports has led society in so many critical areas … this is one where we fell behind."

Colin: As he would agree, it’s sad that that that attitude is so surprising

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Northwestern University football players seek to join labor union

Tom Farrey on an amazing story for ESPN:

For the first time in the history of college sports, athletes are asking to be represented by a labor union, taking formal steps on Tuesday to begin the process of being recognized as employees.

Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, filed a petition in Chicago on behalf of football players at Northwestern University, submitting the form at the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board.

Backed by the United Steelworkers union, Huma also filed union cards signed by an undisclosed number of Northwestern players with the NLRB — the federal statutory body that recognizes groups that seek collective bargaining rights.

Farrey’s piece is long and worth reading. John Infante has a short legal analysis on the Bylaw Blog, and Lester Munson of ESPN is somewhat pessimistic that the students will be ruled employees based on past precedent.

I have an exceedingly hostile opinion of the NCAA and the economics of college sports (which I’ll spare you from because it’ll quickly devolve into a stream of curse words punctuated with phrases like “robber barons”), so when I first heard this story on TV, my immediate reaction was a boisterous cackling. And I haven’t really stopped.

I wish these kids the best. It sounds like they’re probably going to need it.

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Enough: An Open Letter to Dan Snyder

Dave Zirin wrote a piece for Grantland arguing that the Washington Redskins football team should change its name, on account of the racial caricature of its mascot and slur of its team name. The argument isn’t anything new and this probably won’t change anyone’s mind, but I liked this for a couple of reasons orthogonal to the actual argument.

First, I had no idea that George Preston Marshall, the owner of the team when it changed to the Redskins, was scary, scary racist.

Second, the last two paragraphs are really mean in an over-the-top way, and I just had to laugh at how brutal Zirin was being.

Finally, I just like reading things on Grantland. Check out those footnotes.

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krister:

I was a staff writer on The Onion’s “SportsDome” show on Comedy Central which aired in 2011. We had a story, pitched and scripted by David Iscoe (twitter.com/realhumanbeing), about an athlete overcoming rape that I was reminded of today when I read about CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville rape verdict. Our story sounds like it might have been produced by the folks at CNN responsible for the Steubenville coverage.

I haven’t seen the CNN segment in question, but I can imagine it being awful on account of CNN being awful.

Here’s an ABC News article & segment on the Steubenville verdict.

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Here’s a thing that totally happened a couple of days ago, photographed by Jason Mojica for VICE Media via the Associated Press and pasted by me from NBC News’s PhotoBlog:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch North Korean and U.S. players in an exhibition basketball game at an arena in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Thursday. Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series.

Truly basketball is the great equalizer.

Here’s a thing that totally happened a couple of days ago, photographed by Jason Mojica for VICE Media via the Associated Press and pasted by me from NBC News’s PhotoBlog:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch North Korean and U.S. players in an exhibition basketball game at an arena in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Thursday. Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series.

Truly basketball is the great equalizer.