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Mitch McConnell Sacked Online for Opposing Payment of College Athletes

Sports journalists and professional athletes played hardball with the Senate majority leader

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t a fan of the NCAA’s move to lessen restrictions on college athletes getting paid, and he faced major blowback for it this week.

“If they’re really good, they get rich. If they’re not really good, they get a free education, so I’m having a hard time grasping what’s wrong with the current system,” he said Thursday in response to the NCAA announcement that college players can earn money from their names, likenesses and images.

McConnell’s statement went over poorly on Twitter, where sports reporters and athletes jumped into the ring.

Cedar Rapids Gazette spots columnist Mike Hlas summed it up: “This guy,” he said.

Others had lengthier responses that got at the same theme.

“Would Mitch give up his name/image/likeness rights to the U.S. Gov. & allow them to monetize them anyway they choose? And would he also give up his salary in exchange for cont. education credits? If so, I’m all for bringing back amateurism,” said Jeremy Bloom, an Olympian, world champion skier and NFL draftee.

“Somehow, listening to him say this made me even angrier than reading it. How does it impact Mitch‘s life if a college athlete is allowed to make money off his name, image and likeness? Pipe down and let people get their bread,” wrote ESPN’s Buffalo Bills reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques.

Mike Catalana, sports director at Fox Rochester, added, “An incredibly simplistic and massively inaccurate depiction of college athletics.”