Politics

Booker Unveils Plan Targeting ‘Exploitation’ Of College And Professional Athletes As Candidates Focus On LGBTQ Issues

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker unveiled a plan Thursday targeting the “exploitation” of collegiate and professional athletes.

Booker, who is himself a former college athlete, released his plan titled “Justice and Opportunity for Athletes” as fellow Democratic presidential candidates South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren released LGBTQ plans ahead of CNN’s Thursday night LGBTQ forum.

The New Jersey senator’s plan promises to end the “exploitation of college athletes,” to expand all professional athletes’ opportunities and justice, and to guarantee access to sports for athletes of the next generation. (RELATED: Biden Says Mayor Booker Was Bad For Black People. Booker Strikes Back)

“Playing football at Stanford was one of the greatest opportunities of my life — that’s what it should be for all college athletes,” Booker tweeted Thursday afternoon. “But I also saw firsthand how players are exploited for profit. We can change that.”

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Booker bashed the NCAA for its “amateurism” rules and said college athletes are not permitted to share in the success of this “immensely profitable industry.”

“The unfairness of these rules extends beyond compensation; universities’ demands on players’ time result in many athletes — especially young Black men disproportionately represented in revenue-generating sports — often leaving school without an undergraduate degree and saddled with lifelong injuries and medical debt,” Booker’s plan said.

Booker’s plan also touches on ending gender pay gaps in women’s sports, improving pay and working conditions for minor league baseball players, ending “exploitative labor policies” for both NFL cheerleaders and NBA dancers, and more.

“Like millions of Americans, Cory has experienced the remarkable promise of sports,” the plan reads. “As a high school All-American and Division 1 (D1) football player at Stanford University, Cory not only had the opportunity for a great education, he also saw that when people unite around a common purpose, they can take on the biggest challenges.”

Booker promised to “advance concrete reforms, including by aggressively investigating potential violations of labor law; stronger oversight by the Department of Education; and through a targeted investigation and modification of the requirements of the NCAA and member schools’ tax-exempt status.”

“Cory would instruct federal antitrust agencies to use all of the enforcement tools at their disposal, including investigations and weighing in on key cases with amicus briefs, to crack down on practices that exploit and harm athletes in college and professional sports,” the plan added.

Booker will kick off CNN’s LGBTQ forum at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The forum will focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues. 2020 Democratic candidates set to attend include: Former Vice President Joe Biden, Buttigieg, Warren, Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and businessman Tom Steyer.

The Booker campaign did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s a request for comment.

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