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The 2013 Little Vics/Mega-Mix Keef Calendar!  Get it here.

Originally posted to Comics on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:50 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  True, there may be bigger fish to fry but (11+ / 0-)

    the "amateur" athletes are treated certainly smelt.

    Though maybe "indentured servitude" is a better term than slavery?

    What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:56:47 PM PST

    •  both would assume (5+ / 0-)

      that the players don't have a choice in playing or not.

      each one signs the scholorship agreement every year, stating that they agree to the terms.

      •  No: "Slavery" would imply "no choice" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayBat, ontheleftcoast, SB1

        And probably should be applied only to the African Captivity in the Americas.

        But various kinds of indentured servitude have existed since Medieval times ... entered into voluntarily ... creating a class of Servants and Apprentices ... often abused by Masters -- who were called that well after Slavery itself had been abolished.

        The European Left latched onto the Slavery meme, to describe the condition of serfs, peasants, debt-bound workers and inhabitants of Company Towns.   It was, perhaps presumptuous, arrogant and technically inaccurate for them to do so.  Not much really equaled the American Plantation System for just plain awfulness  -- unless it was the mines and plantations of South America and the Caribbean.

        Now ... whether it is the Student Athletes being exploited for the benefit of corporate sports, or whether it is the University system itself ... I'm not sure.

        But a lot of youngsters get chewed up and spit out so that owners can reap profits.

        But that's ok:
        The next generation of students will start their working lives as debt-slaves and unpaid interns -- AND THEY WILL LOVE IT.    (It beats part time Walmart working.)

        By the time they pay for their schooling, their own kids' education, and their home mortgages ... they MAY be ready to retire in modest "austerity."

    •  comparing pampered athletes to slaves? (2+ / 2-)
      Recommended by:
      Pometacom, second gen
      Hidden by:
      Grizzard, Friendlystranger

      no wonder your comics suck.

      this is why you can't make a career out of this.

  •  Love your stuff Keef... (25+ / 0-)

    But I find this one a little over the top.  It's not slavery.  The players can walk off the field at any time.  There is nobody putting a gun to their head telling them to play.

    And the cartoon seems to indicate that you would prefer the kids get paid.  Well, they (and maybe the basketball players) would be the only athletes on campus to get paid.  All of the other sports are drain to the college.  And even MOST football programs are a net loss.

    I love sports and college football in particular.  But I do agree that the money has gotten WAAAAYYY out of hand.  It is unconscionable that a coach makes millions of dollars while many deserving kids don't get to go to college because the price is too high.  And even more are graduating with 10's of thousands in debt.  I am to the point now where I could be talked into supporting the elimination of college sports.

    'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

    by RichM on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:57:59 PM PST

  •  One key difference: the thousands of (11+ / 0-)

    kids who'd be thrilled to trade places with the college football players.

    Even ignoring the many perks that the athletes receive while in school (not the least of which is an education many Americans could never afford), they're also showcased for professional careers in the NFL and other leagues.

    That feels like "opportunity" rather than "slavery" to me.

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:03:19 PM PST

    •  While you pretty much need to go thru college (7+ / 0-)

      sports to make it into the big leagues it's a myth that it's some form of opportunity. Take football as an example. There are 30 teams with a roster of ~50 players. The average NFL career is about 5 years so the turn over rate is roughly 300 players per year. There are ~250 NCAA 1-A/1-AA and over 600 schools with programs. What that means is that even if you get into college football, unless you get into one of a few top rated "football" schools, you have about a 0.1% chance of the "opportunity" to make it in the big leagues. But you still go thru the punishment of slamming your body into other bodies for 4 years without pay. You do mention scholarships and those are a good thing. But should we be using a lottery system to award education or perhaps find a better way to get people into college?

      What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

      by ontheleftcoast on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:17:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Voluntary slavery is an oxymoron. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina, MPociask

      It's not just voluntary, but people actually work their asses off and compete in order to get a college scholarship. I don't think many slaves volunteered for slavery, let alone competed to get into the best plantations.

      And what about those Division III players, playing with no scholarship at all? If a college scholarship is slavery, then surely playing football and paying your own way through college must be super-slavery. They get hit in D-III too.

      If players want to be paid like they are in the pros, they should expect to be treated like they are in the pros. In the pros, drop one too many passes, and you can be gone the next day. In college, you just get benched.

      I fully support the professional leagues starting a minor league system like baseball has. That way, people could choose what sort of compensation they wanted. If they wanted the college scholarship, they could have it. Of if they wanted to play in the minor leagues, they could have the luxury lifestyle that a minor league baseball player enjoys.

      The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

      by A Citizen on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:52:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I get your point, but the analogy (20+ / 0-)

    is historically innacurate and (I'm sure unintendedly) diminishes the evil and horro of actual enlavement.  

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:03:35 PM PST

  •  all the coeds they can eat? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:08:24 PM PST

  •  i'm sorry- (16+ / 0-)

    it's nothing like slavery.

    for the life of me i don't know why you would write "all the coeds they can eat."

    this is offensive on so many levels.

    i appreciate your effort here, but i can't get past how insensitive you're being.

    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:13:02 PM PST

  •  panes et circenses (4+ / 0-)

    and we don't pay the gladiators all that well, do we?

  •  This is slavery like taxation is communism. (14+ / 0-)

    Leave the stupid hyperbole to conservatives.  They're gifted at it.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:17:06 PM PST

  •  One of my favorite K-Chronicles so far (6+ / 0-)

    I like this one.  Yeah, it s just a bit much to compare it to true slavery, since a football player can leave.  But let's get real -- what's the deal here?  America has degenerated into a winner-take-all society.  There are a handful of very rich guys at the top, a lot of grunts at the bottom barely getting by, and fewer and fewer slots in the middle.  So state governments do well selling lottery tickets,  dreams of prosperity for those bad at math.

    Football is a lottery ticket.  The pros are paid well, much better than the middle class.  They may be physically and mentally (CTE) destroyed in the process, but it's the Big Bucks.  Once somebody makes it to the Division I college game, they are gunning for a shot at the pros. Even that is just a lottery ticket, and only a few get there each year, and of those drafted into the NFL, only a few become stars who are kept, but it's a dream.  

    So who's going to give that up to become a janitor, mover, or take whatever other jobs are offered to strong but uneducated (mostly black) young men?  It's not as if Division I football players get a real college education, even if they stick around for a "degree" in "kenesiology".  And maybe a job as a gym teacher or school coach.  Since the NFL now hires non-graduates, even graduation is a sort of booby prize, though some (relatively smart) top players refuse the early drafts and wait to the end to join the pros.

    So it's not quite slavery, but it's unpaid labor, in an exploitative system designed to keep most people down and pick only a few big winners.  Welcome to the lottery; your entry ticket is chronic traumatic enceophalopathy.

  •  Sorry, but I don't weep for the athletes... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, TLS66, NearlyNormal

    I weep for the kids who can't get a college education because they don't have the money while these pampered kids get treated like kings on campus. I don't think too many would mind doing what they ball, take gut courses for credit (if they go to class at all) and, basically, glide through school. And no money? Yeah, right. That's why a kid who comes from a small town is suddenly riding around in a fancy car with lots of jewelry and fancy clothes. No, the money doesn't come from the school, it comes from the boosters via little packets of money.
    College sports is a cesspool. And fact is, it really doesn't make the school much money - and many programs lose money.
    If it were up to me, I'd only allow athletes who can get in by passing the same application standards as any other student. Don't make the grade, you don't get in. And once you're in, if you don't carry the load or make the grade, you don't play.
    Of course, that would mean going back to using sports as recreation. No more big boosters with pockets full of dough. No letting in kids with D+ average because they can play a game. If the NFL wants a minor league, let them pay for it like baseball.
    You're right that they're used. But they also let themselves be used. Things need to change.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:26:58 PM PST

  •  Fuck you... this would be offensive if not so dumb (7+ / 1-)

    comparing college football players to the slaves in the plantations?

    we just made fun of a teabagger who called for revolution saying Obama is worse than King George III... then we put this crap on the front page

    The Seminole Democrat
    Confronting the criminally insane who rule our state; as well as the apathy of the vast majority who let them.

    by SemDem on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:27:13 PM PST

  •  Hmm... (4+ / 0-)

    I get where this is coming from and I think that Division 1 college athletes should share in the revenue they produce for their schools.

    I also think there are a couple of things...slavery and genocide...that cannot rightly be compared to anything else without belittling the original crime.

    "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

    by Notthemayor on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:27:39 PM PST

  •  Not discounting comments higher up (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, cassandracarolina, fuzzyguy

    which I think have some excellent points to make. But setting aside the co-ed comment and the stretched slavery analogy for the moment I have a thought exercise.

    Education is getting ridiculously expensive. To dismiss its value in exchange for playing football fails to recognize this fact. A four-year education can easily run $100,000 these days. At minimum wage, after taxes that's over 300 weeks of work at 40 hours per week.

    I actually agree these athletes deserve a cut of the pie, especially when it comes to merchandise bearing their name and/or likeness. But would you rather have a system where a poor kid can get a free education for playing a sport, or one where they get paid like minor-league athletes in other sports and have to pay full price for education? This isn't clear-cut to me at all.

    •  in addition to the scholorship (2+ / 0-)

      the athletes get a stipen, food credits, housing credit, free clothing, free travel, free tutoring, etc.

      assuming an out of state student going to a big school like Michigan, a football player will "make" easily over 60k a year for his time on the field. if he works hard he can get a grad degree in 5 years, even if he never sees the field.

      players already get paid, just not in cash.

  •  Well... (5+ / 0-)

    Notre Dame and Penn State: Two Rape Scandals, Only One Cry for Justice
    Dave Zirin, The Nation
    January 7, 2013 - 10:25 AM ET

    At too many universities, too many football players are schooled to see women as the spoils of being a campus god. But it’s also an issue beyond the commodification of women on a big football campus. It’s the fruit of a culture where politicians can write laws that aim to define the difference between “rape” and “forcible rape” and candidates for the Senate can speak about pregnancy from rape being either a “gift from God” or biologically impossible in the case of “legitimate rape.” It’s a culture where comedians like Daniel Tosh or Tucker Max can joke about violently raping, as Max puts it, a “gender hardwired for whoredom.” The themes of power, rape and lack of accountability are just as clear in the case of the Steubenville, Ohio, football players not only boasting that they "so raped" an unconscious girl but feeling confident enough to videotape their boasts.
    What do you consider offensive?

    Oh, I see.  The Nation is an unreliable source.

  •  How many slaves wanted to be slaves? (11+ / 0-)

    Not a lot.

    How many NCAA division I players want to be NCAA division I players?

    Pretty much all of them.
    How long did a slave stay a slave? All his or her life.

    How long do NCAA players stay NCAA players?

    4 years.
    How many slaves went on to become millionaires?

    I'm guessing it's close to 0.

    How many NCAA players go on to become millionaires?



    I have a book on slavery. It tells of a time when the grandson of a slave asked what it was like to be a slave. His grandfather took off his shirt and showed him the scars from whips.

    This diary should be taken down.

  •  Sacred cows make the best hamburger (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas

    And nothing is more sacred than football, with its endless similes and imagery to war.  Is it surprising that the financial structure of it is also great preparation for how the world is after graduation?  

    •  Any athlete, college or pro (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      who hasn't actually been to war (and I'm guessing that other Brian Stann the number is zero) who compares what he or she is doing to actual war is a fool. I think that applies to any who have been, too. There is no comparison, except in the mind of the fool.

  •  No.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, NearlyNormal

    college football players, unlike slaves, will eventually become "free" and be paid millions in the pro leagues, earning even more than the coach and "pigs" they work for.  They may even be paid millions more than their pro-league coaches.  I know these players are supposed to keep their grades up during the program, but do they really?  The pressure on professors to "play ball" with the coaches and school administration must be intense, sort of like the pressure extended on Prewitt to play bugle in "From Here to Eternity".  So, no, I don't really feel bad for these players with the potential to earn millions, get easy As, and who can easily steal the girlfriends of "average" college students ("average" in terms of status, not grades).  Is it worth it? I'm sure many NFL players are good citizens, but so many behave badly off the field too (Michael Vick, Ray Harris) and still get paid millions.

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:38:50 PM PST

    •  Average. (5+ / 0-)

      Business Week

      • Average NFL player salary: $1.9 million
      • Median NFL player salary: $770,000
      • Average NFL career length: 3.5 years
      Odds of becoming an NFL Player at all.
      The exact number of players who are eligible to be drafted every year is not readily available, but with some basic math skills, we should be able to come up with a rough estimate. There are 115 colleges with NCAA Division I football programs, give or take half a dozen in any given year. These colleges can offer up to 85 scholarships per year, but every team has some non-scholarship players, so let’s estimate that there are an average of 110 players on a Division I team. A quick check of the rosters shows that each team has between 10 and 20 seniors. So let’s say that each team has an average of 15 seniors. That makes for a total of 12,650 players, with 1,725 seniors. But that doesn’t count Division II, which has roughly the same number of teams, so double those numbers to 25,300 players and 3,450 seniors. So the first lesson that our foray into math offers is that not every college football player makes it to his senior year, and being offered a scholarship out of high school is no guarantee of eventually entering the NFL draft.

      So, including the 50 or so underclassmen who leave college and declare themselves eligible for the NFL draft, that’s a pool of 3,500 players who could be drafted. Now consider the number of players that were drafted by NFL teams in 2011: 254. In other words, only approximately 7% of eligible players get drafted. Those players then have to compete with everyone else on the roster, plus any undrafted college free agents (that is, players who weren’t drafted but are still offered the chance to try to make the roster), plus any other veterans or players from other leagues the team might want to check out, just to make it onto the Week 1 roster.

  •  Some places are different (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about football. I went to a school where the charter stated that football would not be played there: the founder thought it was a waste of time. He also had the first class building made like a factory in case the school thing did not work out.
    Now there is Div III athletics, still no football, and a student athlete is a student.
    Crappy party school also.

  •  Too bad we don't have the most stupid comic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    strip competition here. You would have won hands down. If they don't want to play, they don't have to.

  •  Even at GSU (3+ / 0-)

    Even at Georgia State, where the three year old program is 1-10-0 (very very bad) this year, the coach makes 10-20x a full professor.

    Oh well, sic semper (or perhaps O tempore O mores).

  •  I am gobsmacked by the "outrage and offense" (7+ / 0-)

    that people are exhibiting here. Maybe you could learn a little about the cartoonist Keith Knight and consider that this is a cartoon that makes a point. Sheesh

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:50:34 PM PST

    •  so if we learn a little more about him (3+ / 0-)

      how exactly does that remove our opinion that this is a bad argument/comic?

      The best person can still, every once in a rare while, say or do something offensive.

      Pretty much every human being dead or alive has done it.

    •  Unless this cartoon was intended as a homage (2+ / 0-)

      to Keith Knight why should DKos readers give a damn about some other cartoonist while experiencing this cartoon. By trivializing slavery and offending any number of persuadable Kossacks, the "point" was likely lost. Maybe the writer believes in the doctrine of there's no such thing as bad publicity and is gunning for eyeballs otherwise I can only conclude that this is another sad example of historical ignorance on display.

      "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

      by CaliSista on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:32:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because this cartoon is by Keith Knight (4+ / 0-)

        You do understand that the "K" Chronicles is Keith's strip, right? That he often deals in issues of race and that the point of this strip is to talk about institutions and people makes scads of money off the bodies of young men, many times off the bodies of young black men.

        You can either like his take on it or not, but I doubt you could make a case that he is ignorant of history.

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:44:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes I did misunderstand about the name :( (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          high uintas

          I thought some other dude was being referenced since the diarist had a different name. Sorry about that. With regards to

          You can either like his take on it or not
          I guess I'm definitely in the category of OR NOT. There's an argument to be made about the enormous sums of money in college football but for the most part, that's not what is being discussed in the comment thread is it?

          "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

          by CaliSista on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:57:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but when I made my comment it seemed to me that most people felt he was somehow being racially insensitive. Given the types of issues he deals with in his comics along with his own race I thought it was a bit much.

            In truth I don't entirely agree with him here, but I do see the exploitation that he's reacting to. College athletes are treated to perks that other students would love to have while at the same time they are making a lot of money for the school. Much more than the school will ever pay for on them and just one injury and poof! their career is toast.

            "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

            by high uintas on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:14:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Based on your comments, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              high uintas

              I'm assuming he is a person of color. Whether he is or not, I do find the comparison of college football players in the 21st century with the institution of slavery in the pre-Civil War era to be offensive. It doesn't make me want to discuss the pros and cons of mixing sports with higher education or reflect on the amount of money in large programs or anything else related to what purports to be the topic of the cartoon. My only reaction before moving on to something more worthwhile is to at least make it clear to the history challenged and/or young Kossacks reading this diary that this silly analogy did not go unchallenged.

              "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

              by CaliSista on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:03:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  K-man hits one out of the park! (0+ / 0-)

    The man makes a perfectly legit metaphor, sits back and waits for the reactions to come in. I follow his reasoning and I agree with him.
    I hope if I did not agree with him I would not be offended.

    •  Struck out is more apt. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Calling college campuses plantations doesn't make them plantations, or even make them vaguely similar.

      Slavery is involuntary, uncompensated labor.
      Football is voluntary, compensated labor.

      If someone doesn't like the compensation - free tuition, room and board and books - they are free not to play football.

      The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

      by A Citizen on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:41:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Historical Ignorance is not a Blessing. (0+ / 0-)

      It's a perfectly ignorant and obscene metaphor.
      I would expect this sh*t on RedState, not here.

      My name is Douglas Watts.

      by Pometacom on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:42:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Div. 1 Football = Dachau and Buchenwald (0+ / 0-)

    That's how insultingly stupid this comic is.

    My name is Douglas Watts.

    by Pometacom on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:25:13 PM PST

  •  The comic minimizes slavery. (0+ / 0-)

    The author of the comic is usually an astute and progressive observer of matters involving race.  This comic is a disappointment coming from him.  

    College athletics frequently abuses its athletes.  The frequency of injuries in college sports, repeated outside college sports, would trigger massive investigations and a parade of lawsuits.  The "education" that students receive in recompense for their efforts is frequently a sham that leaves them little better off than they would have been staying at home (unless that home is a disturbed and disturbing place, of course.)

    So, how about comparing issues to working in a third-world sweatshop?  Both sweatshop workers and student athletes get food, shelter and a tiny stipend.  Such jobs offer better prospects than two acres of land and twelve-hour days of backbreaking farm labor in a stultifying village.  A college athletic career can mean a five-year break from some mean streets and a cratered job market.  

    Maybe a Stalinist collective farm offers points of comparison?  Athlete and kolkhoz peasant both receive food, shelter, health care and a pittance, though the student-athlete is freer to leave the team than the peasant is to leave the collective farm.

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 01:03:48 AM PST

  •  When It's Closer to Slavery (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    College football will be like slavery when it's actually like slavery.

    Slavery was first and foremost forced labor. Slaves were prisoners subject to the whim of their owners, barely protected by law - and hardly protected by it in practice - from any abuse, however depraved. Though many slaves weren't abused, and some among the many lived in luxury along with their rich owners. But all, however pampered like pets, were forced prisoners.

    College football players can leave the programme whenever they want. They voluntarily enter it - indeed strive to enter it - amidst many other choices available. Though few are as profitable, or as gratifying to the ego, they are real choices.

    Which is absolutely entirely different from being a prisoner. A slave.

    Helll, even prisoners make $$$ in jail.

    Now you're talking about slavery. Stop degrading the memory of the millions of victims of slavery by comparing college football to it. If you want to examine the injustice of modern slavery, stay focused on the prisons. That's like slavery, even if some prisoners make money in jail. Some slaves did too.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:54:45 AM PST

  •  compared to slavery? Wow? That's a stretch (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up ! We showed up and voted and we got THIS!!!

    by Churchill on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:15:58 AM PST

  •  "Amateur Athletics" where coaches make 5 million? (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up ! We showed up and voted and we got THIS!!!

    by Churchill on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:16:35 AM PST

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