[excerpt] “… As the days went on, the anti-Imus tide gave expression across the country to a pent-up rage people feel about the way this kind of bigotry continually goes unchallenged. Hurricane Katrina destroyed a majority black city, which continues to wither from neglect, and not a word is said. Women face a constant barrage of sexism in our ‘Girls Gone Wild’ culture but if you challenge it, you’re a humorless prig. Imus calls Arabs and Muslims ‘ragheads’ and still had the John Kerrys, Tim Russerts, and Harold Fords as regular guests. This was a classic case of the tipping point, when people just said enough is enough.
… But Imus is also without a job because Rutgers Coach Vivian Stringer and her team, unlike many of Imus’s victims, refused to be silent. As captain Essence Carson said, ‘We’re happy — we’re glad to finally have the opportunity to stand up for what we know is right… We can speak up for women, not just African-American women, but all women.’ Coach Stringer took it even further in her comments last night to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.
‘We’ve become so desensitized that we’ve allowed a lot of things to pass, and we’ve not been happy… Too often politicians, leaders, and religious leaders speak for us, and we sit back and don’t realize the power in numbers, and when to say enough is enough….We see [injustice] all the time. A kid that steals something with a plastic cap pistol, and spends 10 years in jail, and yet you see, the white-collar workers, you know, thieves that steal millions of dollars [get off]. And I do think that if people stood up, politicians [wouldn’t] wait for a poll but [would be] strong enough to make a decision and stand…You know I happen to be the daughter of a coal miner. My father lost both his legs in a mine. He worked hard each and every day. He only stayed out of the mine six months until he got prosthetics. I know what it is to work hard and this has been a lifelong pursuit and passion. I’ve coached for 36 years…as a person of conscience, I have seen so much that I would like to see changed, with everything. I would gladly exchange winning a national championship if we, as young ladies, would stand and allow the country to somehow be empowered and that we take back our country…’
If you want to understand why Imus is out of work, read Coach Stringer’s words again. The fact is that so many of us are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We are sick of the casual racism. We are tired of the smirking, drive-by sexism. We are done with people who make their living by selling the idea that some people are less human than others. We are fed up with the politics of division and hate. We are the majority in this country, but are often entirely without voice. This past week, our voices were heard. It won’t – it can’t – end with Don Imus.”
[excerpt] “… The Rutgers players are nothing more than pawns in a game being played by Jackson, Sharpton and Stringer. Jesse and Al are flexing their muscle and setting up their next sting. Bringing down Imus, despite his sincere attempts at apologizing, would serve notice to their next potential victim that it is far better to pay up than stand up to Jesse and Al James. Stringer just wanted her 15 minutes to make the case that she’s every bit as important as Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma. By the time Stringer’s rambling, rapping and rhyming 30-minute speech was over, you’d forgotten that Tennessee won the national championship and just assumed a racist plot had been hatched to deny the Scarlet Knights credit for winning it all.
… None of this over-the-top grandstanding does Black America any good. We can’t win the war over verbal disrespect and racism when we have so obviously and blatantly surrendered the moral high ground on the issue…. We look foolish and cruel for kicking a man who went on Sharpton’s radio show and apologized.
… We have more important issues to deal with than Imus. If we are unwilling to clean up the filth and disrespect we heap on each other, nothing will change with our condition. You can fire every Don Imus in the country, and our incarceration rate, fatherless-child rate, illiteracy rate and murder rate will still continue to skyrocket. A man who doesn’t respect himself wastes his breath demanding that others respect him.
… We need leadership that is interested in fixing the culture we’ve adopted. We need leadership that makes all of us take tremendous pride in educating ourselves. We need leadership that can reach professional athletes and entertainers and get them to understand that they’re ambassadors and play an important role in defining who we are and what values our culture will embrace. It’s time for Jesse and Al to step down.”
[excerpt] “… Now that the Don Imus flameout has once again demonstrated that vile words energize many activist groups and many media more than do devastating deeds, it is useful to revisit this strange dimension of public furor.
The latest three word outburst in Mr. Imus’ practice of sexist and racist remarks may be compared with the continuing sexist and racist behaviors that civic opponents would argue should at the very least receive equal time from those who become indignant over cruel, bigoted language.
… Words inflaming more than deeds is also too often the case when racial epithets are uttered by public figures. All those groups and civil rights leaders who conquered and ended the Don Imus media empire should ask themselves what have they done in any sustained manner, given their power and media access, about the brutality of racism by commercial interests in the urban ghettos. Deaths, injuries, disease and loss of livelihood are a daily occurrence, apart from raw street crime and drugs. Little children seriously poisoned by lead, asbestos and other toxics. Whole neighborhoods redlined without adequate corporate police protection. Predatory lending, predatory interest rates, marketing shoddy products and contaminated food proliferate.
Where have been the cries of outrage, the demands for removal of these conditions and prosecution of these crooks and defrauders? The abysmal conditions are daily, weekly, monthly. They have been occasionally reported in gripping human interest terms and statistics and maps.
If only the offenders used words, instead of committing these awful deeds. Maybe there would have been action, front page headlines and prime time television and radio coverage. If only they used words!”
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
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