Thursday Oct 01, 2020

Episode 48: #WeAreUnited with Otito Ogbonnia

This week, Derek and Nathan have the honor of being joined by Otito Ogbonnia to talk about the life of a college football player and a summer of gridiron labor organizing and resistance. Otito is a Junior defensive lineman at UCLA, U20 USTF national champion in shot put, and bronze medal winner in the discus. He is also one of the organizers of the PAC-12's #WeAreUnited movement.

In the first half of the episode, Otito shares his nuanced views on questions of exploitation, coercion, and harm in college football, both from his personal experiences and conversations with countless other players across the country. Then, in the second half, he walks us through how the pandemic fomented labor activism on his own campus at UCLA and then in the PAC-12 more broadly, from the writing of the Players Tribune #WeAreUnited manifesto to meeting with Larry Scott and the cancellation (at the time) of the PAC-12's season. Finally, he shares where #WeAreUnited stands today after the news that the season will indeed be played.

You can find Otito on Twitter at @otitoogbonnia12. You can find the #WeAreUnited open letter/manifesto to the PAC-12 here

Our piece from the summer on athlete labor organizing is here. Our piece on the cancellation of the PAC-12 season as union-busting is here

Our argument against college football during a pandemic is here.

As mentioned off the top of the show, a big shoutout to friend of the show @Ryan_Reilly78 and his wife for putting in the work to shed light on the truly harmful and violent rhetoric that comes out of all things Barstool Sports. Ryan and his wife were publicly doxxed on-air which, predictably, led to a massive troll job on Ryan’s family. Please give him a follow on Twitter @Ryan_Reilly78 and show your support! Solidarity forever!  

For a transcription of this episode, please click here. (Credit @punkademic)

After listening to the episode, check out our most recent pieces:

“Red-Scare Rhetoric Isn’t Gone From Histories of American Sport” in Jacobin Magazine

"Canceling the College-Football Season Isn't Enough" published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“'We are being gaslit': College football and Covid-19 are imperiling athletes” in The Guardian

“Canceling the college football season is about union busting, not health” also in The Guardian


As always, please like, share, and rate us on your favorite podcast app, and give follow us on Twitter or Instagram.





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