Former NFL Pro, Uche Nwaneri, On College Esports
It’s not every day that we get the opinions of NFL pros on the world of esports. But that’s exactly what Norris Howard was able to do with his conversation with Uche Nwaneri. Nwaneri spent multiple years playing pro football for the Jacksonville Jaguars and is now the host of the Lineman Life Podcast. The two talk about how similar the process is in practice for both fields and why Madden isn’t a good football sim.
The Path To Pro
One of the biggest conversations in all of college esports is how players can potentially go pro. When it comes to the NFL or NBA, there is a defined road to follow. You perform well in youth leagues, move on to a big high school then college, and hopefully the pros. Such a ladder does not exist for esports. One reason is the fact that esports stars often skew younger than college athletes, but for a 20-something options are limited. However, we asked Uche about what could be done to help streamline this process.
I know this is probably not going to sound popular to the people who own these, you know, these esports teams. But the players have to unionize. There has to be a union. There has to be a collective bargaining agreement that sets the structure [of] how the league will operate in order for you to have a situation like a draft. Because when you sign these guys right now, these are just basically independent contractors…But in order to really cement the league itself in a position where it can now set up these different institutions of scouting and looking to create kind of a feeder system from whether it be high school or college, there’s going to have to be some kind of structure.Uche Nwaneri On How Unions Benefit An Esports Draft
Esports unions haven’t been the most electrifying topic, especially during COVID. But as a former NFL player, Uche understands the power of collective bargaining. With an esports union, incoming rookie esports stars would have to have things like a guaranteed minimum contract. Another major part of unions it having a party to fight for you on your behalf. We know, unfortunately, that esports has multiple stories of players not getting paid.