Spencer Haywood Sees ‘Tinge Of Slavery’ In NCAA Basketball’s Rules


March 20, 2018

Spencer Haywood’s comparison of one type of unpaid labor to another is bound to raise eyebrows.

The Basketball Hall of Famer told The Sporting News’ Sean Deveney in an interview published Tuesday he sees a “tinge of slavery” in the way the NCAA treats elite men’s basketball players. Haywood believes players should have more freedom of movement and reap more benefits from the NCAA’s multi-billion television contract than the scholarships they currently receive.

?They just got a contract from CBS (and TNT), $8.8 billion, and if you are making that, I think you have to share some revenue,? Haywood said. ?You can?t expect people to continue to work for nothing on a false hope of, well this is about education, we are getting you an education, we will feed you. It sounds a little like 400 years ago, like slavery. Stay in your hut. Stay in that little house. We?ll give you some food. You do all of the work. All of it. And I am telling you that I will take care of you.

?It sounds like my life (growing up) in Mississippi. And I will just use myself as an example. We picked all of the cotton, from sunup to sundown. We did all of the work that had to be done on the farm, chopping cotton, planting cotton, tilling the soil — all of this work. We were making so little money that we could not survive. We would go to the big boss and say, ?Hey can we borrow $50 so we can celebrate Christmas?? The birth of our Lord and Savior. Then we had to pay that $50 back all year long. We were relegated to that same system, we couldn?t leave, we couldn?t leave that farm.

?Same thing happens with the players. If they decide to leave, you?re penalized. You transfer, you lose a year of eligibility. The coach decides to leave? He gets a raise.?

Haywood joins several prominent members of the basketball community, who recently have blasted the NCAA’s refusal to pay basketball players. He also agrees with Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy’s characterization of the NBA’s age-limit rule as “racist.”

?When he said it, I was like, ?Well, old Stan Van Gundy!?? Haywood said. ?I watched all of these other commentators get nervous about it and say, ?Well, I don?t think so…? But let?s think about it. If you have 11 blacks on your team and you are say, in Kentucky, and they?re creating all this wealth but not getting paid? It does have a tinge of slavery.

?It is what it is. It is very racist because they?re not helping the communities where those kids come from, Chicago and Detroit and so on.?

Haywood successfully sued the NBA in 1971 over its rule which prohibited players from leaving college early in order to enter the NBA Draft. He said the NCAA still treats him poorly because of his legal challenge, and his latest comments certainly won’t endear him to college sports’ governing body.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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