You can officially add Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to the list of people who believe college athletes should be getting paid for their services while playing sports for their schools.
Peterson spoke during a conference call Wednesday and offered some head-turning comments, via Bob Goessling of ESPN.com:
They're trying to make basketball players go two years in college. Wow. I wonder why? Think about it -- just imagine if LeBron James had been in college for two years. How much money would that college have made off LeBron James? They would have made so much money off LeBron James. It's about the freedom to do as you want and make your own decisions.
Nobody wants to live in the dorms for four years. You see the guys who are older, and they have responsibilities. I feel like, as much money as universities make, some of that should come down to the players, as well.
Peterson’s opinion comes on the heels of a debate about whether college football players should be able to unionize and/or get paid while in school. Northwestern is the focal point of that issue right now, but it is clear athletes in the professional ranks are also paying attention to how this situation develops.
Don't expect this issue to be resolved anytime soon, especially with the Northwestern players becoming so prominently involved. In fact, the NCAA isn't exactly known for moving things along quickly, as Dan Wolken of USA Today pointed out by reiterating comments from Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby:
NCAA chief Mark Emmert recently called the idea of unionizing "ridiculous," so it's not as if the two sides are anywhere near an agreement.
It is worth mentioning Peterson’s first daughter was born when he was playing college football at Oklahoma.
Playing football at a powerhouse like Oklahoma is a daunting responsibility in its own right, and that is not even mentioning the time Peterson had to devote to class and his studies. Throw in the weight of being a father as a young player, and it’s clear where some of Peterson’s opinions on the manner originate.
It will be interesting to watch going forward whether other marquee names in the professional ranks offer their insights on the pay-for-play debate that only figures to grow in the coming months, especially now that one of the best running backs in the NFL has spoken out.