(NNPA)—Athletes at Northwestern University shocked the National Collegiate Athletic Association the governing body of college sports, by taking steps to unionize student/athletes. Surprisingly, NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, former NFL great Jim Brown and Harry Edwards, who organized a human rights protest at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City that culminated in Tommy Smith and John Carlos giving a clenched fist salute when they mounted the winners platform, do not support the idea.
It’s not that Bill Russell, Jim Brown or Harry Edwards have mellowed—they have not. Rather, they think there’s a better way to help athletes who generate $500 billion a year to major universities, athletic vendors and others.
“I am totally against the unions in college,” Brown said. “I don’t like the NCAA. I think it’s a greedy organization, a dictatorial organization, an organization that’s totally unfair to the players…But on the other hand, I think we have all gotten away from the value of an education.”
Russell and Brown made their comments recently as part of a sports panel moderated by Edwards at the University of Texas. The discussion was part of 3-day summit at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.