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Jan 28, 2014 04:07 PM EST

Northwestern Football Players Release Statement on Unionization Movement (READ)

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The Northwestern University football team is leading the movement to unionize NCAA student-athletes with the help of the National College Players Association (NACP).

ESPN's "Outside the Lines" first reported that NCAP president Ramogi Huma filed a petition to allow college sports to have a union on behalf the Northwestern football team. Huma, backed by the United Steelworkers Union, filed the petition and union cards for a "majority" of the Northwestern football team at the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Chicago.

CLICK HERE for OTL's full report on Northwestern leading the charge for the unionization of college sports.

At a press conference Tuesday, Colter read a statement on behalf of the Northwestern football team. He identified himself as the group's spokesman and acknowledged they were ready for the entire process to be lengthy.

"A lot of people will think this is all about money; it's not," Colter told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday. "We're asking for a seat at the table to get our voice heard."

READ the full statement, provided by the Tribune, below:

"We Northwestern football players are grateful for our opportunity to play football for a prestigious university and athletic program. However, just as others who compete in multibillion dollar industries have done, we must secure and maintain comprehensive protections by asserting the rights afforded to us under labor laws. We are not taking these measures out of any mistreatment from Northwestern. However, we recognize the need to eliminate unjust NCAA rules that create physical, academic and financial hardships for college athletes across the nation.

"This fight may take a while but we understand that many of us may have graduated before players get protections. We realize, however, that to remain silent while players are denied justice is to be complicit in inflicting injustice on future generations of college athletes. In waging our struggle, we will comply with all existing rules of Northwestern, the Big Ten and the NCAA. We are taking a pledge not to discuss this any further and we ask Northwestern university and NCAA representatives not to contact us in regards to this matter. Any questions should be directed to the College Athletes Players Association and our spokesman Kain Colter. We look forward to staying focused in the offseason to prepare for a promising 2014."

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