Another Senator saying something incredibly stupid about Name, Image and Likeness? And it wasn’t Tommy Tuberville? (/sighs)
Kentucky senator Rand Paul was on the board of a LIV Golf-PGA Tour merger hearing (lol) when he brought up the discussion of how antitrust laws impact college sports. How we got to THAT from LIV-PGA Tour talk, I haven’t a clue.
However, Sen. Paul not only decided to stick his foot in his mouth, he blew the racial dog whistle so damn hard even Sounder heard it.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) complains about how antitrust laws impact college sports at a hearing on the PGA Tour-LIV merger:
“Now everybody that plays basketball in college is gonna be driving a Bentley or a Rolls. I mean, we’re gonna be seeing rap stars instead of basketball stars.” pic.twitter.com/raasfga8XC
— The Recount (@therecount) July 11, 2023
Let’s take this point-by-point, to really dig into the weeds of what Sen. Paul is attempting to say.
“…They’ve completely screwed college athletes. Many of us loved watching amateur athletes that weren’t paid.”
Ah yes, I love when the people that put their bodies on the line for my entertainment aren’t paid. That man watched Lynn Bowden suit up and was like, “Damn, I LOVE that this guy isn’t making any money to attempt to live on at any time whatsoever.” How disconnected from the actual human aspect of college sports do you have to be to just straight up be like, “YEAH BACK IN THE DAY PLAYERS WEREN’T PAID AND THEY CARED ABOUT FOOTBAW.”
Reminder: this is a Senator. A person who is in charge of making decisions for an insane amount of people.
Just when you think it can’t get worse…
“Now everybody that plays basketball in college is gonna be driving a Bentley or a Rolls. I mean, we’re gonna be seeing rap stars instead of basketball stars.”
First of all, this is the most blatantly racist thing that’s been said OUT LOUD IN THE SENATE about NIL that I’ve heard. An acting senator saying that basketball players (which, as of the 2022 season, are comprised of 44 percent Black players on the mens side and 30 percent on the women’s side) will turn into rap stars as if that’s some kind of consequence isn’t even a dog whistle. It’s a freaking bullhorn. It’s not even veiled racism, it’s just straight up racist.
Second of all, it’s not even true! Not every NIL deal is going to give a student-athlete a car. Most of them are just stipends to get through the week! Some of the deals, like former FSU OL Dillan Gibbons, were used to start GoFundMe’s for friends or family members in need. Stop treating “oh no, this athlete will have a nice car to drive around campus” as boogeyman to stop NIL. Who cares what car they drive? Stop pocket watching, bozo!
There is a very serious racial undertone to the entire NIL conversation as well. Black athletes made up 16 percent of the NCAA’s demographics last year, according to their demographics database. For years, the entire amateur athletics system was built on the backs of labor that wasn’t being paid, most of the prominent sports like football and men’s basketball being the cash cows for universities and built on the backs of predominantly Black players. The concept of not paying your labor and keeping them broke, while athletic programs rake in millions and millions of dollars does have a racial aspect to it. The NIL discussion, in a way, was bound to get to this point, because someone was going to fuck up and say the quiet part out loud.
It just so happened to be Rand Paul in the middle of July.