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Shabazz Napier: ‘there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving’

Apr 7, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT

Shabazz Napier has become one of the poster boys of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Besides being a fantastic asset on both ends of the floor for the No. 7 seed Huskies, Napier has been an inspiring leader as a 6-foot-1 senior guard.

But now Napier has contributed an interesting tidbit off-the-floor as Shabazz has been quoted in a story that was showcased in a article on Monday. The original interview was conducted last week and posted on Fox Sports.

“I don’t feel student-athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving,” Napier said to reporters.

When the senior was asked if he felt like an employee, the Huskies point guard said, “I just feel like a student-athlete, and sometimes, like I said, there’s hungry nights and I’m not able to eat and I still got to play up to my capabilities. … When you see your jersey getting sold — it may not have your last name on it — but when you see your jersey getting sold and things like that, you feel like you want something in return.”

With the recent ruling for the Northwestern football players union in the NLIB, the attention has turned to the players participating in the NCAA Tournament.

Connecticut lawmakers have noticed Napier’s remarks, according to CNN. Since Northwestern is a private school, they can go through other means that state-funded schools like UConn cannot do at the moment.

State Rep. Matthew Lesser and other state lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow athletes at the University of Connecticut to unionize, Lesser said. Unlike at Northwestern, a private institution governed by the National Labor Relations Board, Connecticut law governs whether employees at a public institution can unionize.

“He says he’s going to bed hungry at a time when millions of dollars are being made off of him. It’s obscene,” Lesser said. “This isn’t a Connecticut problem. This is an NCAA problem, and I want to make sure we’re putting pressure on them to treat athletes well.”

Napier still has a season to focus on, but this quote certainly doesn’t make anybody feel better about the fair treatment of NCAA student-athletes in light of all of the recent rulings. Will athletes like Napier be able to help usher in changes to the NCAA system?

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    If he’s going to bed hungry, he’s doing it wrong.

  2. J.M. White - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    You’re going to college on a full ride scholarship. You have never known what it’s like to actually be starving, you spoiled brat. When you can’t get out of bed to make it to practice or a game because there aren’t enough available calories to move your muscles, when your stomach is distended from malnutrition and you’d do unspeakable things just for a slice of bread, then you’ll know what starving is.

    Not that I think that college athletes shouldn’t get paid something, of course, but his hyperbole and blatant exaggeration is nauseating and peeves me to no end. Shut your pie hole, Napier; you’re not helping the cause.

    • trevor123698 - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:12 AM

      you only further malnutrition by eating bread in the first place. there is something known as gluten proteins which is a vague term for the possible 23,000 potentially harmful proteins in wheat bread. The proteins go undigested and damage the part of the intestines that makes absorbing nutrients possible. Science, brother. Put your mind to the test.

    • santolonius - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      j.m. white – using hyperbole to criticize some else for using hyperbole makes you look kinda bad.

  3. emaney477 - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    I believe student athletes should get a stipend. But it should be an across the board allowance for all student athletes. No matter what sport, they should each get the same amount. And schools should be able to outbid each other. It should be a set amount. And it should be anymore than what a part time job would pay. If they earned about 500-600 a month, that should be enough.

  4. fantom21 - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    JM WHITE ” I’m hungrier than you are so I win??” If the guy says he goes to bed starving then he’s hungry. Yeah he’s getting a paid education, one I’m sure since he’s not eating, he wouldn’t be able to afford. Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get some money from the profits his school makes when selling his jersey.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      Yes, that’s exactly what it means. I’m quite sure UConn has provisions for athletes to be adequately fed, meaning fed better than most Americans. If he chooses to not take advantage of the trainer’s table etc., then UConn wasted their money and effort giving this kid an education.

    • J.M. White - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      fantom21 – did you even read my comment all the way through? I ended it by saying they should be getting paid something. I never argued that they shouldn’t, so burn that strawman to the ground all you want. The point that you seemed to have missed was that being hungry is not equal to starving, by definition. Parse it or downplay his own quoted words however you wish. The bottom line is that if he was starving then he simply would not be able to perform on the court – he’d be lucky if he could make more than one or two trips up and down the floor and the mental faculties to run offenses and defenses just wouldn’t be there.

      I repeat, my issue is not about money, it’s about syntax, context and physiology.

  5. titansbro - Apr 7, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    You can’t eat a college degree. Sad how some people think. Can’t get far enough past personal politics to see this is a disgusting way to treat your cash cows.

    • trevor123698 - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:12 AM

      yeah and all the food is toxic.

  6. musketmaniac - Apr 7, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    student cafeteria do close, these students are busy as hell. late practice could make them miss a meal. They do no have a ton of time and most free meals have a time limit.

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 7, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      These coaches KNOW that good nutrition is just as important as practice, lifting weights etc… These coaches make millions and they know they need to win to keep their positions.

      They are NOT going to have their players going to bed “STARVING”.

      They have athletic trainers, the latest in equipment, they are filmed while practicing so it may be broken down and studied to see where they may do better etc…

      ALL of those things are meaningless when the players aren’t nourished right and believe me, the coaches, AD’s and the president’s of these universities KNOW the men on the football and basketball teams bring them millions and millions.

      A body needs fuel, especially ones in peak condition.

      WAY back in the 1980’s, Steve Alford wrote a book about what it was like playing for coach Bobby Knight at Indiana University (IU won the 1987 National Championship in Alford’s senior year).

      In one spot in Alford’s book, he complained about having to eat spaghetti at like 8 to 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

      Why was he eating it then? Coach Knight told them what they’d eat and when they’d eat it before games. Sometimes they played an early game on Sunday afternoons at like 12:30 p.m. and that necessitated the team getting together in a PRIVATE room to eat their pre-game meal.

      Yes, this was a game day, not a day without a game. BUT it let’s you know that coach Knight and the school WAS aware of food and it’s importance to the athletes and how they would perform.

      There meals were NOT an after thought and in the DECADES since then only more has been learned about proper nutrition and performance.

      Millions on facilities and coaches and equipment would be for NOTHING if you let the athletes who bring in these millions starve…

      The coaches KNOW what time the meals are served and if the coach does NOT want to change his practice time you know darn well the cafeteria for the team remains OPEN.

      Heck, many universities are now building separate dorms for only the athletes to separate them from the common students. This still isn’t so widespread but it has been happening.

    • trevor123698 - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:13 AM

      also the food they serve is the opposite of nutrition so it goes right through them. hunger is only quenched by mineral, amino acid, essential fatty acid, and vitamin intake.

  7. spyder9669 - Apr 7, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    He’s about to get an NBA contract….somebody in his family or his friends give him money to eat please believe that. They aren’t stupid enough to not smell that money train coming.

  8. sportfan2 - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    “I’m starving” I’m sure it’s just a figure of speech.

  9. mcal24 - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    “Shabazz Napier, like all our scholarship athletes, is provided the maximum meal plan that is allowable under NCAA rules. UConn does not have a cafeteria devoted specifically to student-athletes, but they have access to the same cafeterias which are available to all our students,” Phil Chardis said in a statement.

    UConn’s Student Athlete Handbook outlines that UConn’s athletes with a meal plan have access to the all-you-can-eat dining facilities that are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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