Multiple players took part in a vague protest of the NCAA Saturday, wearing "APU" (for All Players United, a campaign from the National College Players Association) on their uniforms in solidarity against the treatment of athletes by the organization.
The NCPA's website lists 11 goals, including minimizing brain trauma, raising the scholarship amount, and placing the burden on athlete medical costs on the schools instead of the players. Some have said the players' protest could have been clearer, as it did not effectively communicate the cause.
Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee and defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu were among those who wore the marker, as well as Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and five Georgia offensive linemen. Attaochu described it as a "campaign for NCAA reform."
So far, there has yet to be backlash from coaches or other athletic personnel.
Mark Richt indicated after the game he didn't know about the wristband protest, but added: "It's a free country."— Seth Emerson (@SethEmerson) September 22, 2013
#GaTech Paul Johnson on his players wearing "APU": can't have 6-guys stand 4 something & other 79 not know about. Needs to be team decision— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) September 23, 2013
The backlash came instead from sportscaster and former Bowling Green and Indiana basketball head coach Dan Dakich, who suggested the protest was call for severe punishment.
It would be great if Georgia GaTech/ Nwestern pulled the schollys of those that protested w the "APU " signs /handed them student loan info— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) September 23, 2013
The tweet received dozens of retweets, including one from the Vice President of the NCAA's Division III.
Dakich eventually pulled back on his statement -- kind of. He said what he suggested was impossible, and then derided people for taking said impossible suggestion seriously.
Obviously you can 't pull a scholarship for a protest..guess I figured folks especially media knew that— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) September 23, 2013
The backlash to Dakich's tweet was strong as well, with ESPN's Bomani Jones among those providing opposition to the sportscaster after being sent a link to the original tweet.
@Rand_Getlin that’s pathetic.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) September 23, 2013
After Dakich implied that Jones and others who took his original tweet seriously were "duped", Jones responded again.
@dandakich so you’re blaming me for reading something you said and thinking you meant it? i don’t know what i should have done.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) September 23, 2013
ESPN's Mike Greenberg tweeted his approval of the players' actions, saying they are "100% in the right".
I fully support and admire the #APU players. They show courage and maturity, and they're 100% in the right.— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) September 22, 2013