Grambling and athlete’s rights

Still operating with reduced computer access (day ten!). Still hoping the situation is resolved soon.

But a quickie: I know a bunch has been written about the situation at Grambling, where players refused to play this past Saturday’s game against Jackson State, in protest of deteriorating budgets, training facilities personnel decisions and so on.

There was an interesting juxtaposition in this ESPN piece that I found particularly striking:

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9845085/grambling-state-tigers-game-jackson-state-tigers-canceled-players-refuse-board-buses

The piece quotes a statement issued on behalf of the Louisiana system president to the effect that:

“The student athletes are our primary concern, and while we respect their right to protest, we are concerned about the unintended consequences resulting from this action,” the statement read. The statement added that the university system is working closely with Grambling president Frank Pogue, the NCAA, and other advisers “to proceed in a compassionate manner that minimizes potentially harmful ramifications for our students and demonstrates pride and dignity for Grambling.”

Earlier, the same piece included this nugget:

“Grambling spokesman Will Sutton said late Friday that university officials would have no further comment. He said players will not be available for interviews.”

I am not sure “respect their right to protest” means what officials think it means, if the players are operating under a gag order…

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