College athletes really need a union

College athletes really need a union

The University of Illinois has hired the Chicago law firm Franczek Radelet to conduct an investigation into the allegations aired on Twitter by former football player Simon Cvijanovic.

The News-Gazette's May 17 editorial claiming such a review as the "only viable approach" for "establishing credibility" in the latest Twitter scandal sounded more like the sort of wildly optimistic yet specious declaration that UI administrators tend to make.

The editorial then ignored its own advice to reserve judgment and engaged in a speculative ad hominem attack on Cvijanovic as "a young man whose judgment may be clouded by emotion."

The author calls for the need to "understand the broader context of big-time college sports" yet completely omitted the substance of the Cvijanovic tweets as part of the larger unionization effort begun by Northwestern football players and the College Athletes Players Association.

Cvijanovic is advocating for athletes' rights that he will never personally benefit from; let us consider his impulse as the sort of football masculinity we would like to encourage rather than disparage. We have had our fill of the toxic football masculinities that have filled headlines recently.

If Chancellor Phyllis Wise wants to improve the UI's record with Twitter scandals, I would strongly suggest that she seriously consider contacting the College Athletes Rights and Empowerment Faculty Coalition ( to conduct a review that would be truly independent.


Visiting Lecturer in Media & Cinema Studies,

University of Illinois

Signatory of CARE-FC