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Students, Alumni Debate NFL Labor Dispute

Students studying Labor and Employment Relations represented the three main groups involved in the current NFL labor struggle during the “Billionaires vs. Millionaires?” debate last week at the Nittany Lion Inn. The event was sponsored by the LER Alumni Program Group.

Each side of the NFL labor dispute (players, owners, and fans) stated its initial positions, which were based on a predetermined set of questions, and then each had another opportunity to restate its argument. Audience members were allowed to ask the groups questions to close the debate. The evening concluded with the audience voting on who they felt gave the most compelling argument, which was won by the owner’s (or “billionaires”) team.

The debate was moderated by former Penn State football player and NFL Players Association Executive Director Doug Allen, who joked about hardly being an unbiased moderator during his introduction.

Each student group also featured an alumnus mentor, two former Nittany Lion football players: John Gerak (mentoring the owner group) and Adam Taliaferro (fan group). Michael Wasser, a 2010 graduate and current Research and Communication Associate with American Rights at Work, assisted the player (“millionaires”) team.

The crowd was delighted by a surprise appearance by former Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris, who spoke about the brain damage and health issues that retired NFL players face.

For those unfamiliar with the issue, the NFL is currently in the midst of a labor dispute involving such issues as extending the season to 18 games and how to split the (insane amount of) revenue between the players and owners, among others. You can read more about it here.

Which side of the NFL labor dispute are YOU on?

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About the Author

John Tecce

John is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He currently serves as the President of the Paternoville Coordination Committee and as a THON Chair for Nittany Nation. He tweets a lot.

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