Former football players back unionization effort, praise Northwestern’s treatment of team


Daily file photo by Paul Geringer

Former Northwestern wide receiver Drew Moulton takes on a defender in a 2011 game. Moulton expressed his support Tuesday for Northwestern players in their efforts to achieve union certification.

Rohan Nadkarni, Reporter

Former Northwestern players John Plasencia and Drew Moulton supported Northwestern’s union movement and reiterated the school’s support for injured players in separate interviews with The Daily on Tuesday.

Plasencia and Moulton’s responses came in light of senior quarterback Kain Colter’s announcement Tuesday morning that Colter and “an overwhelming majority” of the football team had signed cards in a petition to unionize in the hopes of gaining better medical care and guaranteed scholarships.

(Kain Colter leading effort to get players represented by union)

Colter insisted the issue was not with Northwestern, but rather other NCAA schools that do not treat players with the same care. Plasencia supported Colter’s claims.

“Obviously Kain has a good head on his shoulders. He seems to be motivated by the right things,” Plasencia, a former tight end, said. “I truly don’t think that this has anything to do with Northwestern right now.”

Plasencia suffered repeated concussions during his redshirt sophomore season in 2011, which he said increased in severity each time. Plasencia ended his football career at the end of that season but remained on scholarship in 2012 and had a minor role with the team.

“I could not be happier with my treatment at Northwestern before, during or after any of my injuries,” Plasencia told The Daily. “There was no pressure on me to come back early. There was no pressure on me to come back at all.”

After Plasencia consulted with doctors, coaches and his parents, he decided to stop playing. His status was in limbo because NU could have released him from his scholarship due to his medical status.

Instead, Plasencia worked with the team during his senior academic year in order to graduate on time.

“It was a foregone conclusion in the coaches eyes I would be absolutely taken care of,” Plasencia said.

Moulton also played from 2009-2012 and like Plasencia, missed the 2012 season due to an injury.

Moulton assured The Daily there was “no chance” of his scholarship being revoked due to his inability to play.Moulton, a former wide receiver, expressed curiosity in coach Pat Fitzgerald’s true feelings in the wake of Tuesday’s news. Fitzgerald tweeted he was “incredibly proud” of Colter and his teammates.

“(Fitzgerald) could potentially view this as a distraction,” Moulton told The Daily. “He usually does not like those very much.”

Moulton made sure to explicitly express support for the actions of Colter and his former teammates. He also shed light on how much time athletes must spend during the season between games on football-related activities.

“(The number of hours) is way more than the NCAA limit,” Moulton said. “Athletes voluntarily choose to spend more time working at things. But we have to just to keep up.”

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