A huge win for college athletes, off the field. A man chains himself to a rest stop, for a very good reason. And hockey player James Neal feels the “love” from fans on Twitter

NLRB.unions

Spare a thought, or a prayer, or both for the brave and courageous firefighters of the Boston Police Department today. One more reason it’s ridiculous that we call athletes “heroic” and “brave.”

Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this here or not, but in 1994, in one of my first sports columns at the University of Delaware’s school newspaper The Review, I said that college athletes should get paid.

After all, I argued, they are not allowed to get jobs during the school year according to NCAA rules, and they generate an enormous amount of revenue for their schools, none of which they see.

I was roundly mocked, laughed at, and made fun of the day the column ran. (Mostly by my friends, who were the only ones reading me at that time. But still…)
Maybe I was naive back then, or just ahead of my time. But ever so slowly, many, many others have come around to see the same point of view, and the idea of college athletes getting compensated got a major boost on Wednesday.

In what could be a momentous ruling, or what could be just a blip on the radar of sports news, a National Labor Relations Board ruled that college athletes can now legally form a union.

The ruling, by a regional director of the NLRB, was in response to a case brought by Northwestern football players who argued that they were basically employees of the university.

This ruling could lead to major, major changes in the NCAA, and how athletes are treated, which would be awesome. Yes, I know athletes get scholarships, so of course they’re not being used for “nothing.

But the billions of dollars earned in college sports have been earned on the backs of young, poor athletes for far too long. I hope Wednesday’s ruling leads to these kids getting at least some of the spoils.

**This is definitely my favorite story of the month, because it’s so bizarre. I heard it on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” and they swear it’s true.

A 21-year-old Illinois man named Kevin Walters chained himself to a highway rest stop the other day, to protest that the rest stop was going to be torn down.

Why was this particular rest stop so important? Well, it’s where he was conceived, of course.

Walters told CBS Chicago on Friday that he was angry the Des Plaines Oasis along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway was being shut down because it had special meaning to him.

“It is a weird story, I must admit. About 21 years ago, my parents were at a Phil Collins concert here in Chicago, and one thing led to another. They ended up at the oasis … and I was conceived there,” he said.

Asked how his parents went about telling him that, Walters said “it just sort of came out just randomly in conversation.”

“They were like, ’Oh yeah, hey, we never really told you how you were born, or your conception,’ and my parents are weird people, so it’s not that surprising,” he said.

Phil Collins.

How many millions of babies were conceived because of that great man’s music!?? “I can feel it, coming in the air tonight…”

The man’s responsible for more sex than Wilt Chamberlain, I tell ya.

jamesneal

**And finally, this may only be really funny to hockey fans, or to me, or to people who like seeing social media experiments that were well-meaning go horribly, horribly wrong. But my friend George H. sent this to me on Facebook and it completely cracked me up.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had quite a few dirty players on their team the last few years, one of them being James Neal, who has a habit of concussing other players with his knees, elbows, and the like.

But the other day, as part of a Twitter outreach thing, the Penguins’ P.R. people decided that Neal would have a Twitter chat with fans, and suggested Pittsburgh loyalists send in questions under the “#askneal” hashtag.

Well, a few Flyers fans, and anti-Pens fans responded. Some of their probing questions for the dirty hockey player known as James Neal ….

1.  James, do you get the biggest thrill out of kneeing someone in the head or cross checking them in the head?

2. If you could have any super power, how would you use it to hit opponents in the head?

3. If you opened a bar how cheap would your shots be

4. If a tree falls down in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does James Neal still cross check it in the face?

5.  what favorite memory have you robbed from one of the players you kneed to the head?

There are more, and they’re all funny. Click here for the rest.

I just love hockey fans.

 

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