For starters, it’s obviously not true that ESPN directly exploits the players, because the players don’t work for ESPN. Think of Monday Night Football for example. Professional football players play a game broadcast by ESPN, but ESPN doesn’t pay them for it. Instead, ESPN pays the NFL for the rights to broadcast their sanctioned event, and the NFL then pays their labor themselves. From ESPN’s standpoint, the Little League World Series works exactly the same way, and there’s obviously no reason ESPN should be paying the players directly.
So the question then is whether the arrangement is indirectly exploitative, so we have to ask ourselves if Little League baseball is exploiting its players. Suffice it to say, I think that’s a pretty hard case to make, for two main reasons.
First of all, playing Little League baseball is not employment, it’s a child’s recreational activity. In fact, you actually have to pay Little League money in exchange for being allowed to play, so obviously construing this as labor is a pretty silly thing to do.… Click here to read the rest