Student-Athletes Are Already Adults

By DJ Byrnes on April 29, 2014 at 11:36a

A few days ago, Sporting News' Matt Hayes, one of the hottest takers to ever saunter the Internet, dished another dandy; this time on student-athletes' attempts to unionize. (If you guessed there'd be a potshot at an Ohio State player... come collect your prize of 38 cents.)

I'm not here to discuss unionization or give Hayes' banality a point-by-point fisking. Rather, let's talk about the wretched, paternalistic headline and its implications.

College athletes want to be treated like adults? Fine, here are the rules

This implies that college athletes aren't already, by definition, adults. Are they wizened, wrinkled sages? No, but consider some of the things 18-year-olds can do:

  • Sign up to defend the United States and its interests, and die in distant lands like Afghanistan while doing so. 
  • Be sentenced to death for crimes.
  • Become an active member of our democratic republic through voting.
  • Sell themselves into financial servitude to further their education.
  • Own a handgun
  • Own a home.
  • Apply for a credit card. (Nobody under 30 balances a check book or even owns one, Hayes.)
  • Buy insidious things like cigarettes and porn subscriptions.

All of these actions (save signing up for Brazzers) carry much more weight than playing a game for the entertainment of millions of beer-swilling adults.

I'm done calling student-athletes kids. Kids are what I see when I log into Instagram. Kids still have recess scheduled into their school day.

Student-Athletes are not kids. They are young adults. It's time the media started treating them as such. 

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