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Pac-12 Players Demand COVID-19 Safety And Racial Justice In Sports

Cal Bears celebrate on the football field


On Sunday, a group of Pac-12 football players threatened to opt-out of the season unless their concerns about competing during the COVID-19 pandemic along with other racial and economic issues in college sports are addressed.

Football players from ten schools, including Stanford and UC Berkeley signed the declaration, which was posted online and across social media. 


Key demands include:


  • Implementing mandatory safety standards and COVID-19 protections. 
  • Eliminating excessive salaries and expenses and using that money to fund all sports. 
  • Redirecting some conference revenue toward racial justice and equity efforts. 

This push is part of a recent surge in athlete empowerment. Players around the country have called out coaches and led demonstrations and rallies protesting racial injustice and police brutality.  


And support is not limited to current football players. Athletes in other sports have announced that they too would opt out until the concerns are addressed. 


The Pac-12 has not responded to the players’ demands. However, it has released a revised football schedule for the season that would start on September 26, even though schools will be conducting most, if not all classes online.  


Precious has lived in and loved the Bay Area since 2012 when she moved from Atlanta, Georgia. Her reporting interests include the politics of race and gender and pop culture as a reflection of our changing cultural landscape. Prior to joining KALW, Precious worked with a variety of community development, social impact and economic equity focused organizations. Before moving to the Bay Area, she practiced law in her hometown.