By Ken Reed
Very few people realize that the wages of minor league baseball players often fall below those of most fast-food restaurant workers.
News from this baseball off-season has focused on the numerous $100 million and $200 million contracts Major League Baseball stars have signed.
The flip side is that the approximately 6,000 non-unionized baseball players in the minor leagues are often asked to get by on $800 to $2,000 per month, resulting in annual incomes below the U.S. federal poverty line.
According to a lawsuit filed by minor league baseball players — a lawsuit that now has class-action status — the minor league players’ hourly wage often amounts to less than the U.S. federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
More than 500 former and current players have added their name to the lawsuit. The suit isn’t scheduled to go to court until February 2017, at which time the lawsuit is expected to have upwards of 1,000 players signed on.
“This is a problem that’s a long time in the making,” said Garrett Brosius, a former minor league baseball player who is now the lawyer handling the case for the players. “This practice has been going on for decades.”
A specific amount of damages has not yet been established, according to Broshuis. He said the primary goal of the lawsuit is to make a permanent change to how minor-league players are compensated.
“This lawsuit isn’t going to make guys rich,” said Brosius.
“It’s just going to impose the minimum wage and overtime laws that all other companies in the United States have to comply with. Our goal is to change things for the future guys and to also help out as many guys in the past as possible as well.”
Congratulations to Brosius for making progress on a cause that’s been too long neglected.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a long-time member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
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Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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