“Ivory Coast is in the middle of a civil war. After the country’s qualification for the World Cup, President Laurent Gbagbo acquiesced to the pleas of the Ivorian football federation and restarted peace talks. The country now enjoys a tense ceasefire, thanks solely to the team’s trip to Germany. The peace may not survive much longer than the World Cup, but any cessation in fighting is a reason to celebrate.”
Likewise, an article in The Nation by Dave Zirin & John Cox highlighted the Ivory Coast experience as a counterbalance to the frequent use of war-talk in sports by Americans — including by the largest U.S. Soccer fanclub — “Sam’s Army.” Zirin and Cox explain that “Other players in this tournament have painful contemporary reasons to think about war as something other than a game.” They continue:
“Ivory Coast has been wracked by civil war since 2002, and thousands of its 17 million citizens have perished. The Elephants, as the team is called, consists of players from all parts of the country, and is seen by many Ivorians as a unifying force. ‘Those from the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south play together, celebrate together, and show a positive image of Ivory Coast that is sorely lacking elsewhere,’ the BBC concluded in a recent report.
‘When we play all of Ivory Coast is happy,’ declared midfielder Yaya Toure. ‘There are many Ivorian citizens who are thinking about the World Cup, and they think that it can resolve many things…. Politics means we are divided, but I think football can sort that out.’ Another player said, ‘The Ivorian people are suffering a lot because of everything that is happening in the country. We owed it to ourselves to qualify for the World Cup, to give it as a gift to the people. We achieved our goal. Now it is up to the politicians to achieve their goal, to find an agreement or a solution to put an end to the [civil war.]’
Echoing the sentiments of many of his teammates, Toure expressed a desire to ‘bring peace through our play on the field.’ When Ivory Coast qualified for the World Cup last year, young fans ran through streets of the capital yelling, ‘The war is over! The war is over!'”
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon