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Ralph Miller - now a probation officer and labor leader - weighs in on need for players to stand up for their rights

Retired college and pro football player makes an announcement as college athletes fight for justice at American colleges and universities

LOS ANGELES, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- America's college football players are standing up for their rights, specifically the players at Northwestern University who have demanded – and won – the right to form a union. The driving force of this need to mobilize is the growing long-term physical disabilities that organized sports have had on collegiate athletes. In a recent op-ed published in The Guardian, Ralph Miller, International Vice President with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and President of the Los Angeles County Deputy Probation Officers Union, AFSCME Local 685, recalls how powerless he felt against the NCAA and NAIA when he sustained a life altering sports-related injury over 40 years ago.

Collegiate sports generated $4.7 billion in 2012–13, yet $0 was allocated towards medical care for players who suffered long term injuries. The athletes aren't even given the option to fall back on Workers' compensation to assist with the absorbent medical bills because technically they're classified as students by the NCAA, thus being denied access. This is an issue that should cause pause because we are all in some way affected by this. These are our family members, our neighbors, and people whom we worship on Sunday with. "I can speak firsthand to the long-term effects of playing football. I still experience pain every day from the injuries I sustained on the field while attending Cal Lutheran," says Ralph Miller.

As a former player and as a labor leader, Mr. Miller is passionate about the fair treatment of collegiate athletes and fully supports the efforts of the Northwestern University players. Mr. Miller is available to speak with media outlets covering this evolving story.

Press contact: Barbara Maynard, 323-351-9321, [email protected]

SOURCE Ralph Miller, International Vice President with AFSCME Local 685

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