President Joe Biden meets with former college athletes at the White House, Nov. 8, 2023 | White House photo
President Joe Biden on Wednesday attended a White House meeting with former college football players and advocates. There, he heard about some of the challenges college football players and other college athletes face.
Biden told the group that he believes that athletes should be able to receive long-term health care for injuries suffered while playing college sports. The conversation also included the question of whether athletes should be able to unionize, matters related to athletes’ Name Image Likeness (NIL) activities and Title IX.
“I believe college football players deserve to have their voice heard on and off the field,” Biden posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “Today, I met with former players and advocates to discuss fair treatment and consistent safety standards.”
NIL refers to allowing student-athletes to earn money during their college or university experience.
The former college football players and advocates shared some of their own experiences as well as some ideas and initiatives for addressing these challenges.
Participants in the Biden meeting
- Andrew Luck, former Stanford quarterback and National Football League (NFL) Indianapolis Colts quarterback
- Rod Gilmore, ESPN college football analyst, former Stanford University defensive back
- Keith Marshall, former University of Georgia running back and Co-founder/CEO of the Players’ Lounge
- Jordan Meachum, College Football Players Association representative and former running back at Sacred Heart University and South Dakota State University
- Kevin Negandhi, ESPN SportsCenter Anchor
- Desmond Howard, 1991 Heisman Trophy winner, former University of Michigan wide receiver, Super Bowl XXXI Most Valuable Player with the Green Bay Packers, and host of “ESPN College Gameday”
- Ryan Clark, former Louisiana State University safety and Super Bowl XLIII champion with the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers
- Lael Brainard, Assistant to the President and Director of the National Economic Council
- Stephen Benjamin, assistant to the President, Senior Advisor to the President Biden, and director of public engagement
Howard told the Advance on Wednesday that he was pleased that Biden had interest in the subject and that the meeting lasted longer than he anticipated.
“He seemed very attentive, very engaging,” Howard said. “There was a lot of discourse back and forth. He shared his own stories about his family members playing rugby, and other players that he has relationships with and the things that they have expressed to him.”
Meanwhile, Michigan high school student athletes will be able to enter into NIL agreements with businesses under legislation approved last month by the state House.
House Bill 4816 is sponsored by state Rep. Jimmie Wilson (D-Ypsilanti). The state Senate is now considering the legislation.
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