A recent college basketball scandal has reignited the debate about whether or not the NCAA should pay student athletes and it’s spurred on some delusional takes from previous players. However, nobody has made a more ridiculous argument than Isiah Thomas and Chris Webber.
During a segment on TNT’s “Players Only,” on Wednesday both Webber and Thomas argued that the current scholarship situation in the NCAA is on par with indentured servitude contracts on slave plantations.
“What the NCAA has become and what it is right now and how the contracts are basically structured, they’re indentured servant contract(s),” Thomas said. “You really give up your name, likeness, so forth and so on and you’re not paid for it. At some point in time, they were able to sell you on scholarship and education being a thing that you basically were compensated with, but revenue has continued to rise and we all understand this as NBA players because right now in college, their salaries are capped.”
Webber, who accepted illegal payments from a booster while playing for the University of Michigan, agreed calling the NCAA a “total scam” and went even further than indentured servitude.
“I say put 10 percent of all profits into a stipend and give it to college athletes. It’s not about giving them another hundred dollars,” Webber said. “My grandfather grew up on a plantation. I don’t know if people know what that is, but the premise of the plantation was that next year will get better. We’ll never let you see the books. We’ll never let you see how much cotton you pick. This is just how much you’re worth.”
“Speaking to the great Bill Russell, we had a conversation and basically he said college is slavery. College is that, and so I love that I’m going to be part of this conversation big time,” Webber added.
Thomas then backed up his argument claiming that the NCAA’s business model is “based on plantation business model” and “it’s probably the only plantation that’s allowed to exist legally in United States.”
There’s no denying that the NCAA and college programs make a ton of money off of their student athletes, but to suggest that it’s equivalent to the slave south is absolutely outrageous. No, student athletes aren’t paid to play, but they do receive a free education for it and they have the freedom to choose whether or not to accept a scholarship.
There is an argument to be made for student athletes to be paid more than a scholarship. Unfortunately for college athletes, they have idiots like Isiah Thomas and Chris Webber leading the charge.