Already multiple members of the Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers have taken public stands against the frightening, dictatorial, anti-union rampage of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. These pro athletes have chosen to link arms with the tens of thousands of nurses, teachers, and firefighters standing as one against Governor Walker's efforts to destroy their unions and drive them into poverty. It's been remarkable to see a steady stream of players from the only non-profit, fan owned team in American sports, lend their voice to this fight.
Yet none of the Packers who've spoken out, have had the profile, respect, or cultural currency of the latest member of the team to stand strong with Wisconsin's working families: Charles Woodson. Woodson is the team's defensive icon. A former Heisman trophy winner at the University of Michigan, NFL defensive player of the year, and perennial pro-bowler, his voice will evoke cheers at the capital and shockwaves in the Governor's office. The team's defensive captain is also the acknowledged emotion leader of the team, charged with pumping them up at halftime and making speeches after the game. He was the person who said during the playoffs, "The President [a Chicago Bears fan] doesn't want to watch us in the Super Bowl? We'll go see him! Say White House on three!" This much watched youtube moment, certainly takes on a different meaning right now.
By the way, Charles Woodson is also one of the team's union reps. Without further preamble, here is his statement announcing his stand with Wisconsin's working families. (Aaron Rodgers? You're on deck.)
STATEMENT FROM GREEN BAY PACKER CHARLES WOODSON IN SUPPORT OF WORKING FAMILIES IN WISCONSIN
Last week I was proud when many of my current and former teammates announced their support for the working families fighting for their rights in Wisconsin. Today I am honored to join with them. Thousands of dedicated Wisconsin public workers provide vital services for Wisconsin citizens. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. These hard working people are under an unprecedented attack to take away their basic rights to have a voice and collectively bargain at work.
It is an honor for me to play for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers and be a part of the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. I am also honored as a member of the NFL Players Association to stand together with working families of Wisconsin and organized labor in their fight against this attempt to hurt them by targeting unions. I hope those leading the attack will sit down with Wisconsin's public workers and discuss the problems Wisconsin faces, so that together they can truly move Wisconsin forward.
Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packer cornerback and one of the team's elected representatives to the players union.
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Dave Zirin is the author of the book: "Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports" (Haymarket). You can receive his column Edge of Sports, every week by going to email@example.com.
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