Florida CB Jalen Tabor calls lack of student-athlete pay a ‘modern form of slavery’

By Adam Silverstein
January 19, 2016

Florida Gators sophomore cornerback Jalen Tabor is one of the best players on his team. Over the course of his two years in Gainesville, Florida, he’s also been one of the most outspoken.

That was certainly the case Tuesday when, after learning that the Southeastern Conference earned a record $527.4 million in the 2014-15 season due to monies from the College Football Playoff and SEC Network, Tabor wrote the following on Twitter:

“The SEC Made 527.4 Million in Total Revenue and Players Ain’t Get A Penny . Modern Form Of Slavery.”

Tabor is certainly not the first to refer to the plight of the student-athlete in such drastic terms, though this is far from the first time the player has put something out on social media without considering the consequences of his actions.

He also happens to be wrong that “players ain’t get a penny,” because technically, they are now getting what some believe amounts to a penny.

Florida players were eligible to receive $3,830 this season in an additional cost of attendance stipend that goes beyond their general scholarship. The school budgeted $1 million towards paying players these stipends for the 2015-16 academic year.

It should be noted that less than 40 minutes after sending his initial tweet, Tabor understood his analogy took things to an unnecessary level. “Went to far with slavery I can admit I’m wrong on that,” he wrote on Twitter. “But y’all get the message .” He later sent another similar tweet, “Went to far with the slavery thing and I apologize , can’t let my emotions get to me . But y’all get the message”

That did not change his enthusiasm on the subject, however, as Tabor retweeted a bunch of responses that agreed with his stance, including an Instagram post from Gators redshirt junior defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, which included a cartoon of former Georgia running back Todd Gurley.

Last September, Tabor created a stir on Twitter when he claimed in a series of three tweets, “All Media Is Good Media ! … Never believe what you read , uf athletic association sucks ! 🙁 … But I’ll be back next week #gogators”

Those tweets came in response to reports that he was suspended for a game for refusing to take a drug test.

Tabor’s family claimed that the Twitter account, which due to website policy will not be published on OnlyGators.com due to the player still being a member of the team, did not belong to Tabor … but it does.

It should also be noted that Tabor is one of the most open and honest players on the Gators’ football team, though one wonders whether Florida will continue making him available to the media as often if he continues to create controversy with his social media account.


  1. thanna800 says:

    Good for you Mr Tabor. Now what shall we do about it, that is the perceiption that the UF is taking unfair advantage of student athletes

    • 305Gator says:

      Really? UF taking unfair advantage of student athletes? Seriously?
      That may be your “perception” but it is certainly not mine or anyone else I’m aware of.
      What I took from this is that Tabor is complaining about the SEC and the NCAA by extension but what he takes for granted or doesn’t appreciate is the value of his scholarship and the opportunity it gives him to make tons of money at the next level. Heck he even treats the stipend given as an afterthought. Most other students don’t get either of those.

  2. Jeff S. says:

    Jalen, I understand how you must feel as you spend so much time preparing and playing football for UF. I wonder if you consider that football to you is like a pre-med program to another student. You are being prepared to enter a very, very, lucrative field, the NFL, because of your college preparation. I know my grandchildren spend as much time prepping for their medical careers, however, they must pay for everything you are getting for playing football. I appreciate your skills and talent for the game and hope you see that it is a two way street. Best wishes for continued success at UF and in the future in the NFL

  3. Gator John says:

    Great player, ridiculous comparison. Not even close to slavery. He has a choice to play or not. On a related topic, I wonder who paid for all that ink….I mean if he is so underpaid.

  4. 1974Gator says:

    I don’t mind if he speaks his mind. I only wish that he didn’t sound like he doesn’t understand good diction. Unfortunately, many people believe stupid is as stupid sounds.
    Hang in there Jalen. The university is moving in the right direction in relation to your compensation issues. Making statements like those mentioned in this article leaves us average folks with the impression that the only reason you went to college was to become an NFL pro.

  5. g8ter27 says:

    What a dumba$$. I love this team and Tabor is certainly an NFL caliber player but he should just play ball and keep quiet (could save you several million dollars come next year Jalen). Next thing you know he will be on twitter telling players they should boycott games. Just remember that NFL GMs are watching this year.

  6. Oldflyer says:

    Well, there is an easy solution to this predicament.

    Quit playing football. Go to school on your own, or with academic scholarships, or loans; like an ordinary student. Or just go out an take whatever job you are qualified for.

    Do like I, and many others, have done; earn your education through military service. There are risks, of course.

    You are not a slave Mr Tabor. You do have choices. So, quit whining about the one you freely chose.

  7. BRLgator says:

    Poor choice of words but coaches, administrators and sponsors make a lot of money off the football program. Lowest paid coach made $275k this year. Nike gives the university 2-3mil a year in free apparel. Tabor sees a very small piece of that pie.

    • senuod says:

      Exactly. Slavery was the wrong term. But are student athletes exploited by the NCAA and each conference? It’s not even a question that they’re being exploited. More money is made by the NCAA every single year. This is the first season, since the NCAA began in the 1850s, that stipends of any kind were given.

      • 1974Gator says:

        Wrong. They have been given stipends for a very long time but never close to the amounts they are being given now.

  8. 1974Gator says:

    It’s called amateurism. Being a pro means you get paid to play. The path to the NFL is through college football. Get over it. The money the university makes on football supports the cost of every other sport at UF, the athletic facilities and the physical plant improvements the athletes use to make themselves ready for game day and the pros. They knew the drill before they signed. Whatever they get that’s more then the contract stated is gravy. Enjoy the extra stipend bucks Jalen. Your entitlement attitude is showing.

  9. Spuntly says:

    Jalen needs to stop speaking his mind publicly or his nickname will soon be “Channing Crowder”. Comparing college football to slavery is simply wrong. These athletes are coddled with the best training, education, tutoring, food, coaching, and medical care that they can get for free. If all that is not worth playing a fun game, then stop playing it and try the real world.

  10. Mike The Red says:

    I am with Tabor on this one. RAs, TAs, and all other student employees get paid. Some get better deals than others depending on their job, skills, and how well their boss is funded. Student athletes should be the same.

    BTW… Research assistants has been complaining about being slave labor as long as I can remember. Cut the kid some slack.

    • 1974Gator says:

      Let’s just drop all facades and give the kickers and snappers $25k, DBs, and OLs $50k, DLs and LBs $75k, RBs and Receivers $100k and QBs $125k each. What are you people smoking? If you give in to that pay for play mentality there is no way to stop the snowball from rolling downhill and destroying everything in its path! Maybe we should pay the players, then we can fire them for non or low performance and go get more to plug into the empty slots left open. Who gives a crap about the value of a college education and experience?
      So what if the coaches are making big bucks. The baby ducks, that think they are NFL material, need the best coaching they can get. Think of them as corporate VPs who report to Offense and Defense COOs. HBCs are paid to be CEOs and have to deal with our unrealistic expectations while growing the UF brand Spurrier created 20+ yrs ago. The coaches have the real tough jobs! Which one of you want to live breathe and sleep college football 24/7, 365?
      Someone needs to remind all you whiners that, at best, there are 3-4 players in each of our recruited classes that make the NFL. The rest are students who get a $40 to $50k (for in-state tuition) college education if they want it, free food and healthcare, and some $20 to $25k (today) in stipends for miscellaneous expenses. Yes, they have to work hard to be able to compete on the field BUT they knew that when they signed!!! At least they have the opportunity by playing CFB at Florida to possibly make the pros and cash in. The university should not have to do anymore then the increased stipend that has already been offered.

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