League of Fans

Founded by Ralph Nader, League of Fans is a sports reform project working to improve sports by increasing awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, exposing irresponsible business practices, ensuring accountability to fans, and encouraging the industry to contribute to societal well-being.

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Alerts is League of Fans' email announcements list. Alerts provides news, information, the actions of League of Fans and/or Ralph Nader regarding sports issues, and calls-to-action for subscribers. All email updates are either selected or written by League of Fans.


League of Fans is motivated by people, just like you, who are upset with what has become of our sports and would like to make a difference. We work with concerned citizens, sports fans, civic groups and communities to increase awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, influence a broad range of issues in sports at all levels and encourage the cooperative capacities that make the "sports powers-that-be" capable of helping, not just dominating, our society and culture.

News / Resources

We often think of sports as outside the realm of everyday citizen concern. But the many benefits to society that sports can provide are sometimes undermined by a different set of values, often based on the quest for higher and higher profits at the expense of fans, taxpayers, communities, culture and social justice.

Your Role

Get Involved! Your involvement will improve sports for communities and fans, and encourage the sports industry to better contribute to societal well-being.


League of Fans - May 21, 2004
- Advocating for the Removal of American Indian Sports Symbols
- Student-Athlete Gambling in NCAA Affecting Outcome of Games


- Advocating for the Removal of American Indian Sports Symbols

There have been a few recent positive developments in the ongoing struggle to eliminate American Indian nicknames and images as sports mascots. Please do your part to uphold the right of all people to be treated with dignity and respect. Fight to end racism against Native people in sports. People who take a principled stand against injustice have a right and a responsibility to fight racism, no matter who the target is.

1) The University of Iowa is beginning to enforce a policy, approved by its athletic department governing board in 1994, that prevents the scheduling of non-conference games with schools that have American Indian mascots.

Baseball Game Renews Mascot Discussion
Chuch Schoffner, Associated Press - May 7, 2004

2) Protesters (including the Progressive Resource/Action Cooperative, University of Illinois students, staff and faculty, as well as members of the American Indian, Latino and black communities) working toward the removal of “Chief Illiniwek” as the name, mascot, and logo of the University of Illinois, succeeded in getting a resolution on the June U of I Board of Trustees agenda calling for the removal of the “Chief.”

Agreement reached in Chief Illiniwek sit-in
Associated Press - April 16, 2004

3) Marquette University rejected a $2 million offer to change the school's nickname back to Warriors after having switched it to Golden Eagles in 1994 out of respect for the American Indian population.

Marquette declines offer to be Warriors again
ESPN.com - May 17, 2004

The United States Commission on Civil Rights: Statement on the Use of Native American Images and Nicknames as Sports Symbols
April 13, 2001

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights calls for an end to the use of Native American images and team names by non-Native schools. The Commission deeply respects the right of all Americans to freedom of expression under the First Amendment and in no way would attempt to prescribe how people can express themselves. However, the Commission believes that the use of Native American images and nicknames in schools is insensitive and should be avoided. In addition, some Native American and civil rights advocates maintain that these mascots may violate anti-discrimination laws.

These references, whether mascots and their performances, logos, or names, are disrespectful and offensive to American Indians and others who are offended by such stereotyping. They are particularly inappropriate and insensitive in light of the long history of forced assimilation that American Indian people have endured in this country. Since the civil rights movement of the 1960s many overtly derogatory symbols and images offensive to African-Americans have been eliminated. However, many secondary schools, post-secondary institutions, and a number of professional sports teams continue to use Native American nicknames and imagery. Since the 1970s, American Indians leaders and organizations have vigorously voiced their opposition to these mascots and team names because they mock and trivialize Native American religion and culture.

It is particularly disturbing that Native American references are still to be found in educational institutions, whether elementary, secondary or post-secondary. Schools are places where diverse groups of people come together to learn not only the "Three Rs," but also how to interact respectfully with people from different cultures. The use of stereotypical images of Native Americans by educational institutions has the potential to create a racially hostile educational environment that may be intimidating to Indian students. American Indians have the lowest high school graduation rates in the nation and even lower college attendance and graduation rates. The perpetuation of harmful stereotypes may exacerbate these problems.

The stereotyping of any racial, ethnic, religious or other groups when promoted by our public educational institutions, teach all students that stereotyping of minority groups is acceptable, a dangerous lesson in a diverse society. Schools have a responsibility to educate their students; they should not use their influence to perpetuate misrepresentations of any culture or people.

Children at the elementary and secondary levels usually have no choice about which school they attend. Further, the assumption that a college student may freely choose another educational institution if she feels uncomfortable around Indian-based imagery is a false one. Many factors, from educational programs to financial aid to proximity to home, limit a college student's choices. It is particularly onerous if the student must also consider whether or not the institution is maintaining a racially hostile environment for Indian students.

Schools that continue the use of Indian imagery and references claim that their use stimulates interest in Native American culture and honors Native Americans. These institutions have simply failed to listen to the Native groups, religious leaders, and civil rights organizations that oppose these symbols. These Indian-based symbols and team names are not accurate representations of Native Americans. Even those that purport to be positive are romantic stereotypes that give a distorted view of the past. These false portrayals prevent non-Native Americans from understanding the true historical and cultural experiences of American Indians. Sadly, they also encourage biases and prejudices that have a negative effect on contemporary Indian people.

These references may encourage interest in mythical "Indians" created by the dominant culture, but they block genuine understanding of contemporary Native people as fellow Americans. The Commission assumes that when Indian imagery was first adopted or sports mascots it was not to offend Native Americans. However, the use of the imagery and traditions, no matter how popular, should end when they are offensive. We applaud those who have been leading the fight to educate the public and the institutions that have voluntarily discontinued the use of insulting mascots. Dialogue and education are the roads to understanding.

The use of American Indian mascots is not a trivial matter. The Commission has a firm understanding of the problems of poverty, education, housing, and health care that face many Native Americans. The fight to eliminate Indian nicknames and images in sports is only one front of the larger battle to eliminate obstacles that confront American Indians. The elimination of Native American nicknames and images as sports mascots will benefit not only Native Americans, but all Americans. The elimination of stereotypes will make room for education about real Indian people, current Native American issues, and the rich variety of American Indians in our country.

More Information:

American Indian Sports Team Mascots

American Indian Movement

The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media (NCRSM)

Frequently Asked Questions (NCRSM)

Retire The Chief

Ten Reasons to Retire Chief Illiniwek

The Progressive Resource/Action Cooperative (PRC)

Common Themes and Questions about the Use of “Indian” Logos

League of Fans’ Resources on Race and Sports

League of Fans’ Race and Sports Action! Page



- Student-Athlete Gambling in NCAA Affecting Outcome of Games

There are three clear degrees of college student gambling on NCAA sports.

1) Non-athlete students gambling on sports (harmless?).
2) Gambling by student-athletes on sports (a little less harmless?).
3) Student-athletes gambling on sports, and playing poorly on purpose to affect the outcome of the game (terrible circumstances on many levels).

The unfortunate and disturbing (if not surprising) results of an NCAA gambling study were released on May 12 showing that because of gambling debt, 1.4 percent of Division-1 football players admitted they had changed their performances to affect the outcome of games in which they were playing. 1.1 percent reported taking money for playing poorly in a game. The numbers were slightly lower for D-1 men’s basketball players, but no less worrisome.

The survey (NCAA National Study on Collegiate Sports Wagering and Associated Health Risks) also measured: knowledge of a teammate who took money for playing poorly; whether threatened or harmed because of sports wagering; whether contacted by an outside source to share inside information; and whether actually provided inside information about a game. Another series of questions centered around affecting the outcome of games because of gambling debt.

The NCAA Sports Wagering Task Force has been formed to analyze the study and are charged with undertaking a thorough examination of the study's results and submitting a final report with findings and recommendations to NCAA President Myles Brand.

More Information:

NCAA press release on study measuring student-athlete gambling

The shadow of doubt
Mark Kreidler, ESPN.com - May 13, 2004

We're sending the wrong messages
Bill Curry, ESPN.com - May 12, 2004

NCAA plans assault on gambling
Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com - May 13, 2004

* Take Action! *

Ensuring the well-being of student-athletes and the integrity of intercollegiate athletics concerning student-athlete gambling is becoming more difficult as the problem, with a long history behind it, is clearly growing. And there are no easy solutions. League of Fans asks readers to share ideas, suggestions, concerns, and personal knowledge and experiences regarding student-athlete gambling to NCAA President Myles Brand and the NCAA Sports Wagering Task Force.

Myles Brand
National Collegiate Athletic Association
700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN 46206-6222
tel (317) 917-6222
fax (317) 917-6888

Rev. Malloy, President of Notre Dame, is Chair of the NCAA Sports Wagering Task Force:

Rev. Edward S. Malloy
University of Notre Dame
300 Main Bldg.
Notre Dame, IN 46556
tel (574) 631-7367
fax (574) 631-8212

The NCAA Sports Wagering Task Force Roster

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GOOD SPORTS / BAD SPORTS is an email bulletin of recent news items and suggested actions regarding issues in the world of sports. It goes out regularly to League of Fans "Alerts" listserv subscribers.

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Founded by Ralph Nader, League of Fans is a sports reform project working to improve sports by increasing awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, exposing irresponsible business practices, ensuring accountability to fans, and encouraging the industry to contribute to societal well-being.

To find out more about League of Fans, visit www.leagueoffans.org or write to [email protected].