A photo of Wisconsin star Nigel Hayes went viral on Saturday when he he held up a sign at College Gameday saying, “Broke college athlete. Anything helps.”
In an interview on an ESPN/ABC Capital Games podcast on Thursday, Hayes said it was more of a commentary, and that he’s not actually a broke college student. He wants athletes to be paid based on performance, and thought the statement on Saturday was the best way to be heard.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 15, 2016
“If this thing does change, I won’t benefit from it and it’s completely fine,” Hayes said on the podcast. “A lot of things that are changed, the person whose doing the change or advocating for it, rarely reaps those benefits. I’m doing it for the hopes that if there is another kid when Thanksgiving comes around and he wants to see his mother he’ll be able to have those couple of dollars to buy a plane ticket to go home and see his family.”
All the money that was sent to the Venmo account on Hayes’ sign was donated to charity, and Hayes will not face any potential NCAA violations, according to ESPN. Hayes said his family is able to help him out, and that he doesn’t live a “broke” lifestyle at Wisconsin. But that’s not the case for all athletes.
“I want to be a voice for those who aren’t in the fortunate position I’m in,” Hayes said. “The sign was to be the voice. A voice doesn’t travel as far.”