MINNEAPOLIS — Former NFL MVP Adrian Peterson advocated for college athletes Wednesday, saying they deserved to be paid for the millions of dollars they bring to school coffers, and took aim at NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s stated desire to require college players to spend two years in school before declaring for the draft.
Peterson said he felt a kinship with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel as a fellow high-profile athlete who generated significant revenues while he was in school at Oklahoma.
“When I was in college, I know personally, as far as jersey sales and ticket sales, I helped make that university a lot of money,” Peterson said during a conference call. “Johnny Manziel helped make Texas A&M so much money. You’re talking about championship games that he was able to lead those guys to. You’re talking about jersey sales that he don’t see a dime of.”
Peterson has stated his opinion that college athletes should be paid before, but never so forcefully.
“I feel like as much money as universities make, I feel that some of that money should be given down to the players as well because we are the ones that are making this university money,” Peterson said. “These bowl games? Without the players, how much money to do they make? None.
“Without the players, how much money do they make? They make no money without the players.”
And he didn’t stop with college football. The NBA is giving serious consideration to requiring college basketball players to stay in school for two years rather than the “one-and-done” requirements the league has right now.
“I hear that they’re trying to make basketball players go two years to college,” the 2012 MVP said, unprompted. “Wow. I wonder why? Just think about it. Imagine if LeBron James would’ve had to go to college for two years. How much money would that college have made off of LeBron James? They would’ve made so much money off LeBron James.”