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UCLA Labor Day tweet ignites controversy, promptly deleted

Former NFL tight end Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) posted this screenshot on Twitter yesterday of a deleted tweet from the Wooden Athletic Fund.

By Tanner Walters

Sept. 8, 2015 2:34 p.m.

A midday tweet from the Wooden Athletic Fund caused controversy Monday, thanking UCLA donors for allowing Bruin student-athletes to “go to work.” The account quickly removed the tweet after multiple individuals and even a former NFL player questioned the wording.

Fueled by the current national debate over whether NCAA student-athletes should be paid, much of the Twitter reaction came from the connotation of the word “work.” While it is a common sports phrase, a number of people felt that the characterization was inappropriate coming from an organization that does not treat athletes as employees.

The Wooden Athletic Fund, the fundraising arm of the UCLA athletic department, deleted the tweet within hours of its posting, but not before former NFL tight end Tom Crabtree posted a screenshot to his 115,000 followers. Crabtree attended college at Miami University and retired from professional football earlier this year.

ESPN baseball writer Keith Law picked up Crabtree’s tweet on Tuesday, asking his nearly-half-million followers, “Work, huh? Doesn’t work usually involve a salary?”

Just last month, the National Labor Relations Board overturned a 2014 ruling that allowed Northwestern University football players to unionize with the College Athletes Players Association, an organization run by former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma.

The latest decision was seen as a major victory for Northwestern, as the university had appealed to the NLRB to block union efforts. The ruling, however, did not address whether or not students could be considered employees.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Wooden Athletic Fund office had not yet responded to a request for comment on why they decided to delete the tweet entirely.

Compiled by Tanner Walters, Bruin Sports senior staff.

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Tanner Walters | Alumnus
Walters joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2014 and contributed until he graduated in 2018. He was the Alumni director for the 2017-2018 academic year, Editor in Chief for the 2016-2017 academic year and an assistant Sports editor for the 2015-2016 academic year. Walter spent time on the football, men's basketball, men's volleyball, men's soccer, men's water polo and rowing beats.
Walters joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2014 and contributed until he graduated in 2018. He was the Alumni director for the 2017-2018 academic year, Editor in Chief for the 2016-2017 academic year and an assistant Sports editor for the 2015-2016 academic year. Walter spent time on the football, men's basketball, men's volleyball, men's soccer, men's water polo and rowing beats.
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