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 #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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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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.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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