Should Athletics be Considered Jobs?

Professional athletes would of course answer yes to the question, are athletics a job? Professional as well as most collegiate athletes get paid to play so why would it not be considered a job? What about the youngsters on the YMCA teams? Are they employees of the program simply because they’re on the team? I can remember in high school my father told me you don’t have to get a real job, as long as you’re involved in sports. Your sports are your job. Since I’ve been an athlete competing in several different sports since as long as I can remember, I can tell you first hand that athletics take an innumerable amount of time, and an uncountable amount of energy much like a full time job. So should athletes be paid a full time salary?

Northwestern University’s football team recently cast their votes on whether or not form the first NCAA Players Union. If this union is in fact formed, it will make the students employees of the school. This unionization could help the athletes gain better health care, compensation, and other benefits. Although this unionization would only apply to private schools many say this is the beginning of the end of the traditional student-athlete. As a student-athlete at a private university this topic is very important to me. I am interested in learning how this Players Union or a lack there of is or isn’t going to affect me, my scholarship, and my future as a student athlete. Gregg Doyle, a national columnist for strongly promotes the idea of a Players Union. A Players Union may have its benefits, but “Mark Emmert, President of the NCAA, calls a union for college athletes “a grossly inappropriate solution to the problem” that would “blow up everything about the collegiate model of athletics”” (qtd. in Doyle). Doyle believes that the union is a good idea and could be the change the NCAA is seeking. Doyle states:

Maybe this is infantile logic, maybe it’s not logical at all, but I’m OK with what I’m saying here. And what I’m saying is this: The more the leaders of college sports use their DEFCON 1 scare tactics on the college athletes trying to unionize and the public considering the idea, the more I’m willing to consider that maybe, just maybe, a union is exactly what college sport’s needs.

If this could be beneficial to the NCAA why has the idea of a Players Union not been thought of before now? While Doyle argues that the union is a good idea for college sports, News Week Sports Journalist like John Walters and Michael DePaoli agree. The two believe that college athletes work for hours a day year round helping the school bring in countless amounts of funds, and don’t get enough credit for it. The NCAA’s dictatorship characteristics won’t change unless the players unionize. Walters and DePaoli state:

By the way, it should be noted that walk-on players, i.e., those not on scholarship, are not included in Ohr’s union and would not be part of any proposed union.

This would mean that only the student athletes who get paid to play would be a part of the Players Union. The problem with this is does this mean some athletes are going to feel discriminated against? Walk-on players, or teammates without a scholarship put in just as much time and effort as the athletes with scholarships, so why shouldn’t they get the same benefits? Another problem is how are they going to decide who earns the right to make decisions like that, who earns the right to decide what players can and can’t join the union even though each player puts in just as much work as his or her teammate. Without proper ruling and authority these decisions may not be fair, but how do they decide on the proper ruling and authority? 

Even as many problems evolve from this debate Doyle, Walters and DePaoli can all agree that a Players Union would be good for college athletics what does this mean for the NCAA? The main issue the NCAA has with this idea, is that they will not be as powerful over the student athletes as they once were. None of this will happen anytime soon. Countless hours will be spent bickering in court through many cases which are going to have to occur before the NCAA and colleges even consider giving an inch of slack to the athletes. Most of us in college now will not have to worry about this effecting our scholarships, all the while it is definitely something we should be informed about. While this may not be something that happens soon, the Northwestern football team, like the NCAA, isn’t giving up anytime soon. Wilfred Sheed states:

Yet sports don’t have to be the teacher’s enemy. At least the young athletes have learned discipline from somewhere, and there are no harder workers than jocks or ex-jocks […] Above all, every kind of athlete knows what many other students never will, that nothing can be learned without discipline. The words are synonymous. And in the pursuit of what they want, athletes are already used to policing themselves and, if necessary, each other. (494)

Sheed argues that though the student-athletes of Northwestern University may not know the consequences of their actions, they will still fight for what they want and continue to fight until they get it. I completely agree with Sheed’s statement about athletes and their quality of understanding discipline. As someone who grew up beginning as a young athlete, I confidently confirm Sheed’s statement by recognizing those qualities in myself. If the NCAA would just allow the players to unionize now and if the results end up doing more harm than good, then we can just return to the traditional form of student-athlete. I believe this way will save the NCAA countless hours of arguing and decision making, also I believe it will save them an abundance of money as well. Although Sheed made this statement he is still opposed to the idea of a Players Union. Sheed states:

Playing in the band at half time is still fun (no one has ever suggested paying the band), but that throwing and catching a ball is work—and that even this depends on what kind of ball you’re using. A football equals work, a volleyball is only play. Appearing on television is obviously work, but even here distinctions are made: players work cheerleaders have fun. Shooting baskets is work, helping to clean up after is its own reward. (497)

Sheed believes that pay for play changes the game from something adults do to continue the thrill they received as a child to a job that is only done because money is made from it not just for the love of the game. I think many of us can agree that it’s more entertaining to watch an athlete compete in something they have a definite passion for, rather than watching someone go through the motions because they get paid the same salary no matter if they win or lose.

There is definitely many pros and cons to the creation of a Players Union, all of which need to be thought about thoroughly. There is no doubt this process should last a while. Although many, including myself, believe a Players Union will be good for the NCAA, the ones whom can allow it still oppose. Many of us may not ever see the day that student-athletes unionize, but there is no doubt change is coming.




Works Cited

Doyle, Gregg. “Players Union Won’t Ruin College Sports; Fat Cats Already Started That.” CBS Sports, 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.

Walters, John, and Michael DePaoli. “The NCAA’s Fishy Argument against a Union for

 Players.” News Week. Newsweek, 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.

Sheed, Wilfred.“Why Sports Matter.” “They Say, I Say”: The Moves that Matter in Academic

Writing: with Readings. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 489-511. Print.




Unit II Collaborative One Act Play

LaMiya Bennette, McKenzie Call, Cedric Harris, David Newcomer, and Emma Pope.
Healthy Living in America
Character Guide
Radley Balko: “What You Eat is Your Business” Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason, a monthly magazine that claims to stand for free minds and free markets.
Jennifer Goodman: Deputy Director of scheduling and events in the White House.
Michelle Obama: An assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago, the dean of student services at the University of Chicago, and vice president of community and external affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center. This text comes from a speech she made to promote her, “Let’s Move!” campaign against childhood obesity at the NAACP national convention in Kansas City, Missouri on July 12, 2010.
Susie Orbach: Chair of the Relational School in the United Kingdom, is also involved in with Anybody, an organization “that campaigns for body diversity.” Orbach has worked as an author and a therapist for women’s health issues and even served as an advisor to Princess Diana when she was suffering from bulimia. Orbach has written several books on women’s health including Bodies (2009), On Eating (2002), and Fat is a Feminist Issue (1978).
Judith Warner: An author who has been featured in the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine, with her column “Domestic Disturbance” on November 25, 2010 (2010). In addition she has written four other books. Not only does she write but added to her achievements she also hosted the Judith Warner Show on satellite radio.
David Zinczenko: A successful man and writer who is editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine. Also, he is the author of several books and is illustrated in many big newspapers in the world and has made appearances on talk shows. David strongly believes that obesity in children is just as much the restaurants fault as it is the customer.
Michelle Obama hosts an afternoon lunch in the White House garden and a conversation starts on America’s Health.
Jennifer Goodman: Good Afternoon and Welcome to the White House. Mrs. Obama would like to thank you for being here for this lovely afternoon lunch. She will join us momentarily when the meal is served.
Jennifer walks to the doors and allows the waiters to bring out the meal.
Judith Warner: Oh wow this is a nice set up.
David Zinczenko: It’s a beautiful day too.
Jennifer arrives back with the First Lady, Michelle Obama greets her guests and sits at the head of the table joining the conversation.
Michelle Obama: Welcome everyone! I’m glad that you all can join me for this beautiful lunch that my staff has prepared.
Radley Balko: What? No cheese burgers?
Group laughs
Susie Orbach: No way! Us girls have to watch our weight!
MO: That’s a good point Susie. That’s why I really wanted you all to come here today! “There is an issue that I believe cries out for our attention and that is the issue of childhood obesity in America today” (420).
DZ: I agree. “By age 15, I had packed 212 pounds of torpid teenage tallow on my once lanky 5-foot-10 frame” (392).
MO: I know when I was growing up, “our parents made us get up and play outside. We would spend hours riding bikes, playing softball, freeze tag, and jumping double-dutch” (421).
SO: I believe obesity isn’t something only children battle. “Fat is a social disease, and fat is a feminist issue” (449).
DZ: Yeah “I got lucky. I went to college, joined the Navy Reserves and got involved with a health magazine. I learned how to manage my diet. But most of the teenagers who live, as I once did, on a fast-food diet won’t turn their lives around” (392).
MO: “But let’s be clear, this isn’t just about changing what our kids are eating and the lifestyles they’re leading – it’s also about changing our own habits as well” (430).
JW: “You need to present healthful eating as a new, desirable, freely chosen expression of the American way” (402).
RB: In all honesty, to me “the best way to alleviate the obesity “public health” crisis is to remove obesity from the realm of public health” (397).
MO: I agree. “We can offer people the best health care money can buy but if they’re still leading unhealthy lives, then we’ll still just be treating those diseases and conditions once they’ve developed rather than keeping people from getting sick in the first place” (424).
RB: “We’ll all make better choices about diet, exercise, and personal health when someone else isn’t paying for the consequences of those choices” (398).
MO: “Look, no one wants to give up Sunday meal. No one wants to say goodbye to mac and cheese, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes forever. No one wants to do that. Not even the Obama’s, trust me. But chefs across the country are showing us that with a few simple changes and substitutions, we can find healthy, creative solutions that work for our families and our communities” (428). And on that note, let’s eat!
Everyone begins eating.
Works Cited
Balko, Radley. “What You Eat Is Your Business.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves That Matter in
Academic Writing. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 395-98. Print.
Obama, Michelle. “Remarks to the NAACP.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves That Matter in
Academic Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 417-33. Print.
Orbach, Susie. “Fat is a Feminist Issue.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves that Matter in Academic
Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 449-452. Print.
Warner, Judith. “Junking Junk Food.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves that Matter in Academic
Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 400-05. Print.
Zinczenko, David. “Don’t Blame the Eater.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves That Matter in ​Academic Writing. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, ​2012. 391-94. Print.

Unit Paper 1

Emma Pope                                                                                                             

ENG 131.02

Dr. Jane Lucas

19 February 2014

                                    David Crane and Marta Kauffman’s Friends: An Annotated Bibliography


            Friends was a popular television show airing from 1994 to 2004. The plot line of the comedy series is based on the lives of six friends living in Manhattan. The story line follows the happiness and success of all six friends, but once everything seems to be going their way, something interferes and they’re back to square one. This is my favorite television series, and I have seen every episode multiple times. The purpose of this annotated bibliography is to discuss the importance of television in viewer’s lives. Watching television has been called “an exercise for the mind” if viewers will look at it that way rather than dazing off on the couch with a bag of potato chips. After reading the information provided, I hope this inspires more people to change the way they watch television and maybe even do it a little bit more often. The bibliography that follows includes more information about why watching television is actually a good activity to pursue and two additional sources giving good information about the importance of watching television.

                                                                                Annotated Bibliography

Johnson, Steven. “Watching TV Makes You Smarter.” They Say, I Say.The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald      Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 277-94. Print.

            Steven Johnson’s “Watching TV Makes You Smarter” definitely approves of anyone’s obsession with Friends. Johnson firmly disagrees with the popular belief that most things are bad for the health of people. More specifically Johnson believes many things that we believe are bad for us are actually good. “Watching TV Makes You Smarter” is actually an excerpt from Everything Bad Is Good for You (2005), a book Johnson wrote about the beliefs he has. Throughout this essay Johnson explains that watching television is actually a good daily activity for the mind and can help boost critical thinking skills.

     Johnson is currently a contributing editor for Wired, writes a monthly column for Discover, and teaches journalism at New York University. Johnson is the author of seven books.

Peacocke, Antonia. “Family Guy and Freud; Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious.” They Say, I SayThe Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 299-311. Print.

     Antonia Peacocke, as a college student at Harvard University, wrote the essay (“Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious”) about her beliefs about television. In it, Peacocke states that she believes such television shows as Family Guy are in fact educational rather than degrading. Peacocke gives an example of a scene that demonstrates how “Americans are willing to follow the instructions of a celebrity blindly–and less willing to admit that they are doing so” (304). Peacocke believes that there are ways a person can watch television and completely zone out, but when viewers sit and watch television and think about what the show is trying to subtly tell viewers, the mind works on so many different levels to achieve this result.

      Peacocke is also a National Merit Scholar, and received the Catherine Fairfax MacRae Prize for Excellence in both English and Mathematics, and served as the copy editor and columnist for her high school newspaper.