A regional director for the National Labor Relations Board last week ruled that football players at Northwestern were "employees" and could therefore form a union. To some, the ruling was not a step toward a more equitable system, but a dangerous, unnecessary precedent.
To wit, Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins argued in a Sunday op-ed that the issue hinges on the "specious premise" that college athletes are "exploited and aggrieved" in the first place. Right from the outset then, her whole argument is total bunk.
You can quibble all you want about whether student athletes are exploited, but there is no question a bunch of them are "aggrieved." The mere fact that Northwestern players are pursuing the issue so stridently is proof of that. And then there's the class-action lawsuit filed by former UCLA hoops star Ed O'Bannon, who is challenging the NCAA's ban on compensating athletes. So yes, I'd say that settles the "aggrieved" question.
Yet you may not have even made it that far into the article after stumbling over its first, puzzling line:
It's hard to view Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter as the Che Guevara of college sports once you learn that he interned at Goldman Sachs. [Washington Post]
I don't even know where to begin. Is Jenkins arguing that financial internships preclude you from joining a union? Is she forgetting that Guevara was a medical student before he became a revolutionary? And is it really apt to liken literal revolution to college football?
To her credit, Jenkins raises many legitimate questions about student-athlete unionization, such as whether members would pay dues, and who all could join. But to simply throw up your hands and declare, "It's not looking out for college athletes to open the Pandora's box of employment and unionization," as Jenkins does, is a lazy attempt to ignore the problem. College athlete unionization will of course be problematic. It will of course raise thorny questions, experience hiccups, and need to be fine-tuned. But just because it will be a difficult process doesn't mean it isn't worth pursuing, especially since it would end an exploitative system that is at best cabalistic, and at worst racist.
It's not looking out for college athletes to dismiss their grievances simply because you don't know how to resolve them. Jon Terbush
Following the release of a video showing the fatal officer-involved shooting of a black teenager, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Chicago Tuesday night.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 25, 2015
— RT (@RT_com) November 25, 2015
— People magazine (@people) November 25, 2015
— CNNgo (@CNNgo) November 25, 2015
Some shouted "16 shots," referring to the number of bullets allegedly fired during the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, USA Today reports. Others carried posters and called for an end to the violence that has plagued Chicago. Three people have been detained for unknown reasons, WGN reports, and other protesters said they would make their way to 17th and State to show their solidarity. Catherine Garcia
David Canary, a legendary soap opera star who won five Daytime Emmy awards, died Nov. 16 of natural causes in Connecticut. He was 77.
— Kelly Ripa (@KellyRipa) November 24, 2015
Canary was famous for playing twins Adam and Stuart Chandler on All My Children, winning five Outstanding Actor Awards and earning 16 nominations between 1985 and 2008. He started his acting career working in theater in New York before transitioning to film and television. He also appeared in Hombre with Paul Newman and Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Peyton Place, Another World, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Talk show host Kelly Ripa, who played Canary's daughter on All My Children, said on Twitter she was "so sad to learn of the passing of the great David Canary. A[n] incredibly talented actor. A wonderful man. I was lucky to know you." Canary is survived by his wife, Maureen; son Christopher; daughter Kathryn; brother John; and one grandson. Catherine Garcia
Hearing cries coming from a nativity scene, a maintenance worker at a Catholic church in Queens, New York, found, tucked away in a manger, a newborn baby.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) November 24, 2015
Police say the baby was just four or five hours old when he was discovered, swaddled in towels. The Rev. Christopher Heanue of Holy Child Jesus Church said it's likely the infant was in the crèche for about 30 minutes before he was found, and his umbilical cord was still attached. "I believe that this mother came with her child and was able to find in this crèche — a place where Jesus will be welcomed — a place where her child will be welcomed," he told The Wall Street Journal.
Under New York State law, as long as a child is left in a safe place, it is not a crime to abandon a baby, and police still do not know the identity of the mother or whoever dropped off the infant. A couple in the church is interested in adopting the baby, Fr. Heanue said, and the boy would be a "gift to our parish, our community. The Holy Child Jesus, that's our namesake. It's a welcoming home for this child, most especially." Catherine Garcia
The city of Chicago released dashboard camera footage Tuesday evening that shows the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old black teenager in October 2014.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) November 24, 2015
The video is six minutes long, and appears to show Laquan McDonald walking down the middle of a street before he is shot. Jason Van Dyke, the officer who allegedly shot McDonald, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday; prosecutors say he fired 16 rounds at McDonald in roughly 14 seconds, and was reloading when another officer told him to hold his fire, the Chicago Tribune reports.
A court ordered the release of the video after a freelance journalist filed a Freedom of Information Act request, going against the wishes of McDonald's family. "No one understands the anger more than us, but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful," the family said in a statement. "Don't resort to violence in Laquan's name. Let his legacy be better than that." Before the video was posted, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy held a news conference, urging residents to remain calm. "The officer in this case took a young man's life, and he's going to have to account for his actions," McCarthy said. "People have a right to be angry, people have a right to protest. " While he did not predict "doom and gloom," he did say he believed the tape would spark protests. The graphic video can be viewed on the Chicago Tribune website. Catherine Garcia
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday at least 19 people in California, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Utah, Virginia, and Washington may have been infected by E. coli after consuming rotisserie chicken salad sold at Costco.
Five people have been hospitalized, and two have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, which can lead to organ damage, Reuters reports. No deaths have been reported. The CDC says 14 of 16 people purchased or ate rotisserie chicken salad from Costco in the week before they became ill. Costco says it stopped selling the salad Nov. 20, the same day the company was notified by health officials about the connection to E. coli cases. The CDC says it has not yet identified which ingredient is linked to the infection. Catherine Garcia
At least 12 members of the president's security guard were killed and 20 injured Tuesday evening in Tunis after an explosion ripped through a bus.
Tunisian President Béji Caïd Essebsi called it a "cowardly terrorist attack," and declared a 30-day state of emergency and a nightly curfew starting at 9 p.m. Witnesses said they heard an explosion and saw the bus go up in flames, and a source told Reuters the blast was likely caused by a suicide bomber. "We're going into this war with everything we have," Essebsi said in a televised address after the attack. "Victory will always be on Tunisia's side."
This is the third major attack by militants in Tunisia this year, and took place on Mohammed V Avenue near Avenue Habib Bourguiba, where several landmarks and ministry headquarters are located, The New York Times reports. After the attacks in Paris and Beirut earlier in November, Tunisian authorities stepped up patrols around the city, deploying soldiers and police officers. No organization has claimed responsibility yet for the bombing. Catherine Garcia
Police on Tuesday afternoon said they had arrested two suspects in the shooting near a Black Lives Matter protest camp in Minneapolis Monday night, and were still seeking other suspects. The Guardian reports that a 23-year-old white man and a 32-year-old Hispanic man were taken into custody in connection with the incident that non-fatally injured five black protesters.
Witnesses say the shooting happened after protesters tried to get three counter-protesters to move away from the camp outside the police station in north Minneapolis, where demonstrations have been ongoing since Jamar Clark, a black assault suspect, was shot dead on Nov. 15. Becca Stanek