Pac-12 football players threaten opt-out amid safety, racial injustice demands

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A large group of Pac-12 football players is planning to opt out if their demands regarding racial injustice and safety concerns relating to the coronavirus pandemic, among others, aren’t met, according to ESPN.

With the aid of college athletes advocate Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA linebacker and founder and president of the College Athletes Players Association, the group of players that could be in the hundreds want a written contract from the league that “legally ensures we are offered the following protections and benefits,” the group said in a statement ESPN obtained.

In addition to safety precautions regarding the virus and racial injustice issues, players also want to secure economic rights and fair compensation, all sports protected and be provided with long-term health insurance. The report stated that players involved are from California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and others, and there are head coaches in the league aware of the potential boycott.

The Pac-12 — which announced a conference-only football schedule — has yet to formally hear from the group, it said in a statement.

“We support our student-athletes using their voice, and have regular communications with our student-athletes at many different levels on a range of topics,” the conference said. “As we have clearly stated with respect to our fall competition plans, we are, and always will be, directed by medical experts, with the health, safety and well-being of our student athletes, coaches and staff always the first priority. We have made it clear that any student athlete who chooses not to return to competition for health or safety reasons will have their scholarship protected.”

A public statement is expected from the unnamed group at some point soon, possibly on Sunday.

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