(105.3 The Fan) — Taking anything away from American Pharoah would be a disservice. He deserves the attention; however, I can't get out of my mind the similarities between this 3 year old and the college athlete.
My mind truly started racing as the owner, trainer and everyone else accepted praise and accolades. Meanwhile the real star of the day was being whisked away. I didn't even have a chance to see the bed of roses around his neck. Kind of like college coaches who can do as many interviews as they want after victories, accept the trophies, write motivational books on how to win as a team in which they make millions and when a better offer comes in, skip town. American Pharoah can't skip town and neither can the college athlete.
Luckily American Pharoah was not injured, but if he was, like many race horses, the value is gone and usually so is the horse. Next horse up!
Of course if a college athlete is injured, surely the school covers medical costs even after college. Nope, even though the injury happened while playing college sports, the school is not liable. HBO's Real Sports did an amazing story on this featuring Division One players who can't work because of their injuries suffered on the football field. The college is nowhere to be found. In fact, one former University of Washington student Darin Harris returns to campus for treatment of concussions at the University medical center -- but that's on his dime. Can't work, can barely afford to live, yet gave his all to play for the University.
Millions were bet on and against American Pharoah. Millions are bet on college athletics. The horse and athlete, never see a dime.
Think of all the tracks across the country that advertised to come to their facility to watch and bet on American Pharoah. Think of all the billboards in your hometown with a student athlete's image on them. No compensation.
American Pharoah merchandise and royalties will make millions for its owner. Schools make millions on merchandise including jerseys, but the athlete doesn't receive anything.
Let's play a game. Insert American Pharoah or your favorite college athlete into these phrases...
What a stud ______ is. He's been running all day, __________ is a Thoroughbred. ___________ is a true beast.
You wouldn't however yell, American Pharoah is a Horse! That would be silly, but I've been in the stands when someone makes an outstanding play and heard people yell, "That guy is a Horse".
We don't stud humans, although the Manning family DNA might fetch a pretty penny on the free market as would the half super athlete, half supermodel DNA of Tom and Giselle.
Trainer Bob Baffert and American Pharoah's owner Ahmed Zayat, from everything I've read, are well respected. Jockey Victor Espinoza going back into the stables to kiss American Pharoah is a terrific picture that should be shown for years. Donating his Belmont winnings to City of Hope is even better.
The same can be said about many college coaches who do care about their players and their future. Many don't however and hopefully the push will move forward to give the college athlete compensation, something they so richly deserve.
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