If you aren’t familiar with Nigel Hayes, chances are that won’t last long, as the athlete is gaining notoriety for his actions both on and off the court. The Wisconsin Badgers forward is in his senior year and was the only preseason All Big Ten player to be a unanimous pick. He’s a big-time NBA prospect who is using his time in the national spotlight to speak out about injustices and changes he’d like to see made. He has spoken at length about his feelings on racial inequality, and frequently takes to twitter to talk about big-picture issues that few other athletes — professional or otherwise — are ever willing to touch.
One of his chief causes at the moment is the issue of unpaid student athletes, long a heated debate among sports fans. In the past days, he has become more vocal on Twitter about the issue:
And is now trying to get onto College GameDay with his protest sign, which includes his Venmo ID if people would like to donate money to him so he can help make ends meet.
Hayes is far from the first person to talk about the spectacular disparity between the revenue generated by college athletics and the woefully insufficient “trade-off” of tuition in return for athletes’ services. But he is perhaps the most high-profile athlete to speak out so strongly while still in the midst of his college career. Hopefully he will make it onto GameDay, and hopefully things won’t be like this forever.