As hundreds of unpaid workers are traveling to Indiana in the middle of a pandemic to do work for free that will generate billions of dollars for other people, a full-grown adult man who personally profits by talking about their unpaid labor is taking a stand.
Last March was a horrible, unspeakable March. The COVID-19 pandemic became too much to ignore, and people in suits whose names you’ll never know and faces you’ll never see were forced to not rake in 10 figures in profits off of unpaid labor. Fans were not able to bet insane amounts of money on unpaid labor. Nobody could buy tickets to watch people work for free. It was unimaginable.
But this year, things are finally back to normal. Unpaid workers are sacrificing their bodies on national television for the sake of our entertainment, and everybody else, from their bosses, to their company’s general managers, to the people writing about their work, to the people selling pretzels right outside the jobsite, is getting paid. It’s a glorious, lucrative return to the normalcy we’ve all craved.
“It’s been two whole years since I’ve been paid USD directly for my work in covering this incredible celebration of unpaid labor,” said fancy schmancy news guy Bates Everett Cornell IV in a fashionable $2,000 suit. “You know how terrible it felt being paid a salary without having unpaid labor to cover? I felt like a freeloader.”
This week in the days leading up to the 2021 Men’s NCAA Tournament, some of the unpaid workers have voiced their unhappiness with their wages and inability to side hustle. Opponents of their message have explained why such an idea is outlandish.
“They knew what they were signing up for,” said John Smith, a bland replica of the same American over and over again. “When I went to school, I had to work three jobs and went $100,000 in debt. You don’t see me complaining about it. I just roll over it take it, like a good little boy. One day, the benevolent Job CreatorsTM shall reward me for my loyalty.”
One of the biggest cries from the unpaid masses of human flesh is to make money off of their name and likeness, which is not allowed in the current company structure. Satan, who appears under the alias “Mark Emmert” on earth, explained to me why this is such a terrible idea.
“You can’t let them make money in any way, because then you lose control,” Satan said. “Then we couldn’t call them student-athletes, and we could no longer extract full value from their labor. I might not make a net of about $2.9 million in a year, and then what would happen to my car collection? All those cars without a home?
“Besides, no one would want to see extremely athletic 18 to 22 year olds pour their heart and soul into the game if their labor were compensated,” he continued. “Sebastain Telfair, anyone? Checkmate, communists.”
When I turned off my brain and really thought about it, I began to see where Satan and his minions were coming from. The invisible hand of the free market has waved its magic wand and determined that our heritage doesn’t want college athletes to be proportionately paid for the amount of revenue they bring for their institutions and the NCAA. Satan and other NCAA board members have worked hard for their multimillion dollar salaries, and the invisible hand of the market has rewarded them for it. Same for the coaches, who couldn’t be replaced by anyone else until they lose too much and then could be replaced by anyone or anything, including inanimate objects, depending on your perspective.
The market is at its freest when people in suits manipulate it.
But the players change all the time, rotating into and out of rosters every four years, sometimes fewer if they fail to meet the standards required to work for the NCAA for free. Even if the numbers on the jerseys everybody buys change every season, the name on the front doesn’t. It’s probably best to let Satan and others who profit off the unpaid labor to tell us what’s in the unpaid laborer’s best interest rather than the unpaid laborers. What do unpaid laborers know? They’re unpaid laborers. They don’t even wear suits.