Thursday, October 26, 2017

In which we apply everything we know, which isn't much, to the December PF resolutions

OPTION 1 – Resolved: Professional sports are an appropriate platform for political change.

OPTION 2 – Resolved: NCAA student athletes ought to be recognized as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

I admit that I haven’t been posting much lately, mostly because I don’t have much to say except the same old same old, and I am otherwise engaged more often than not, but this one caught my fancy. My first reaction was, like yours, sheer wonderment that the NSDA would get that drunk before releasing potential topics, but then I realized that they were probably stone cold sober, which led to even more wonderment.


A platform for political change means, I guess, a place to demonstrate in the hopes of changing things politically, as compared to a place to have a direct cause/effect relationship. I mean, they’re probably not saying that if you act in professional sports, there is a direct result in politics. I guess. Here’s what Web sez about a platform:

2:a declaration of the principles on which a group of persons stands; especially :a declaration of principles and policies adopted by a political party or a candidate
3a (1) :a usually raised horizontal flat surface; especially :a raised flooring 
(2) :a device or structure incorporating or providing a platform; especially :such a structure on legs used for offshore drilling (as for oil)
b :a place or opportunity for public discussion
4a :a usually thick layer (as of cork) between the inner sole and outer sole of a shoe
b :a shoe having such a sole
5a :a vehicle (such as a satellite or aircraft) used for a particular purpose or to carry a usually specified kind of equipment
b :operating system; also :the computer architecture and equipment using a particular operating system

While I like the idea that the rez refers to scarily tall shoes, it’s probably more like the declaration of principles or the place for public discussion. Actually, in the literal syntax of the rez, it would have to be the latter. So, professional sports are an appropriate place for public discussion in aid of political change. I have two thoughts on this. What place isn’t appropriate for public discussion in aid of political change? And second, when exactly during the football/baseball/soccer/43-man-squamish game does this public discussion take place? I mean, I just read in the NY Times that the huddle is disappearing from pro football, and as far as I know in my limited understanding of sports, that’s about the only time in that game anyone ever says anything to anyone else other than trash talking on the line of scrimmage and “Oomph” when someone tackles you. My guess is that this rez is somehow meant to address taking the knee during the anthem. Which of course means in NSDA Speak that the rez should not mention in any way, shape or form the concept of taking the knee during the anthem. As statements of principles goes, and taking the knee is definitely such an animal, it is also overarching in its obliqueness. It is analogous to the Marlon Brando movie, The Wild One, when Johnny is asked what he’s rebelling against, to which his reply is, “Whadda ya got?” In the US in 2017, a general protest against pretty much everything makes sense to me, but it doesn’t lead to political change as much as public awareness. Unfortunately, that awareness gets turned around into more hatred and bitterness, but that’s sort of beside the point. A topic that said: Displays of resistance during the national anthem are … something, would at least tackle it head on. It wouldn’t go anywhere during the argumentation, but at least people wouldn’t have to spend argument time trying to explain what they’re arguing about.

As for the second possibility, on the Department of Labor website it says, “the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.” The NCAA is for college students, so my initial thought, which was that the one thing that might be applicable here, child labor standards, turns out to be impossible. Which raises the question, Did I miss the memo where it was announced that we now pay college basketball players? I mean, that could absolutely be a thing that I don’t know about. In which case, insuring that they get paid the same as burger slingers at McDonalds really does seem like a good use of debater time this coming December. (I’m sorry. I realize sarcasm doesn’t always come across clearly in the written word, hence I’ll parenthesize the subtext.) If they don’t get paid, the laws that apply to their getting paid seem to be, I don’t know, inapt?

Sports. What do I know?

1 comment:

Rob said...

Well presumably that's the point: if they were treated as employees under FLSA, they'd have to be paid. I imagine FLSA was chosen specifically so they'd have to be paid hourly, as opposed to assume profit-sharing mechanism.