For Immediate Release: March 29, 2021
COLOR OF CHANGE DEMANDS SPONSORS OF NCAA MARCH MADNESS ‘GET OFF THE SIDELINES’ AND SUPPORT BLACK COLLEGE ATHLETES
Racial justice organization’s new campaign calls on AT&T, Coca-Cola, Capital One to endorse Sen. Booker’s College Athletes’ Bill Of Rights
NATIONWIDE — As the March Madness tournament reaches the championship game, Color Of Change — the nation’s largest online racial justice organization — launched a new campaign to hold the NCAA’s largest corporate sponsors, including AT&T, Coca-Cola and Capital One, accountable for enabling the systemic exploitation of Black college athletes.
Color Of Change is calling on the sponsors to support college athletes by endorsing the College Athletes’ Bill of Rights, a landmark proposal introduced in Congress by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) which would guarantee fair and equitable compensation, improved educational opportunities for college athletes and enforceable health and safety standards.
“For decades, the NCAA and its band of corporate sponsors have reaped the benefits of a racist and exploitative system that continues to strip college athletes of their right to fair compensation for their labor,” said Arisha Hatch, Color Of Change vice president and chief of campaigns. “By the end of the March Madness tournament, the NCAA, coaches, schools and corporate sponsors will bring in nearly $1 billion dollars collectively, while Black college athletes, who already face the risk of career-ending injuries and must grapple with the life-threatening danger of Covid-19, receive zero rewards or financial compensation. If NCAA corporate sponsors want to uphold their public commitments to racial justice, they must get off the sidelines and join us in endorsing the College Athletes’ Bill of Rights, which would provide college athletes fair pay, health and safety protections and educational resources.”
The College Athletes’ Bill of Rights continues to receive widespread support since its initial introduction last year, including from Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), as well as Vice President Kamala Harris.
For years, Color Of Change has mobilized its 7-million-member base to demand corporations and institutions stand behind and lift up Black athletes. In 2019, Color Of Change conducted a nationwide survey that revealed 74% of poll participants believe allowing players to earn money from their name or image would specifically turn the tide for Black college athletes, who make up the vast majority of the highest-revenue sports of football and basketball. The organization also drove attention to the Fair Pay to Play Act in California, which allows college athletes to profit from their hard work. In response to more than 20,000 petition signatures, 3 billboards, and 10,000 combined letters and phone calls from Color Of Change members, California’s governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law in September 2019.
Last summer, Color Of Change led the charge in demanding that the NBA’s league office and team owners support their players’ strike. In September, Color Of Change announced its first-ever-athletic sponsorship of U.S. Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry, after corporate sponsors withdrew their financial support following Berry’s protest against racial injustice on the medal stand at the Pan American Games. The organization then successfully helped pressure the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to abandon policies that authorize punishments against Team USA athletes who raise their fists or kneel on the medals stand in support of racial justice.
About Color Of Change:
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.