Bernie Sanders joins LeBron James in support of bill allowing college athletes to be paid

Jack Baer
·Writer
DYERSVILLE, IA - AUGUST 19: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) warms up before his baseball game against the Leaders Believers Achievers Foundation at the Field of Dreams Baseball field on August 19, 2019 in Dyersville, Iowa. Sanders is one of over 20 candidates running for president on the Democratic ticket against Republican President Donald Trump. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders is one of many seeking change in how the NCAA compensates its players. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

A bill is pending vote in the California state assembly that could result in thousands of NCAA athletes being able to profit from their talents, and it now has two very notable supporters.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James tweeted a call to action Thursday in support of California SB 206, which would forbid colleges in the state from preventing student athletes from receiving compensation for use of their name, image or likeness.

A day later, Vermont Sen. and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders quote tweeted James with a simple message: “College athletes are workers. Pay them.”

Per the U.S. News and World Report, this is surprisingly the first time Sanders has weighed in on the divisive matter of paying college athletes. However, his stance probably shouldn’t be surprising to those familiar with his record.

The NCAA has made quite clear what it thinks about SB 206, having previously threatened to ban all California schools from national championships. California schools like Stanford aren’t very thrilled about the idea, either.

The bill has already passed through the California state senate by an overwhelming 31-5 vote, but could face a harder time in the assembly and on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. Politico reports that James only tweeted about the legislation in the first place because of worries that university lobbyists are closer to convincing Newsom not to sign the bill.

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