While both the NFL owners and players toss an occasional platitude the fans’ way regarding how much they care, everyone realizes that neither side has spent more than a minute or two thinking about the fans’ position in the ongoing NFL lockout.
Sportswriters, sports talk show hosts, and others lament the fact the fans don’t have anyone representing them during discussions between the owners and players. Fans certainly have a legitimate stake in this fight. Besides the obvious fact that the fans are the NFL’s consumers, and as such the lifeblood of the business, fans/taxpayers have built stadiums — and the infrastructure surrounding the stadiums — all over the league. The majority of NFL stadiums should have the corporate name removed in favor of “Taxpayer Stadium.”
It’s clear the fans should have a voice during this dispute between owners and players. And it’s also clear that publicly-elected government officials should end their silence and get involved in this dispute as well. On public policy matters, citizens depend on their elected officials to represent them. Professional sports in general, and the NFL in particular, wouldn’t exist as we know them today without a variety of public policies that have been set in place over the years. For those that say government shouldn’t have any role in the business of sports, the fact is they already have a huge role in the business of sports.
Sports policy expert Evan Weiner outlines the role of government well in a recent column entitled Fans Don’t Matter in Sports: “By the way, where are the municipal leaders who lead the rush to get stadiums built for NFL owners (and other sports)? President Barack Obama has washed his hands of the NFL lockout as has the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Republican Lamar Smith of Texas. Apparently all elected officials want to stay clear of the NFL lockout despite the fact that the NFL clearly has been built by Congress (the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, the 1966 AFL-NFL merger, the 1984 Cable TV bill that allowed cable operators to bundle channels on a basic tier and forced subscribers to pay for all channels on a basic tier — the tier that became the home to sports — whether the subscribers watch sports programming or not, and the 1986 tax code revision which changed the way municipally funded stadiums and arenas were financed and placed the burden of paying off the debt on taxpayers) and helped along by local elected officials.”
Government certainly has a stake in the business known as the National Football League. Where’s the pressure from government officials on the owners and players during this lockout mess? Where are the government officials carrying the “voice of the fan”?
It’s time they come out of hiding.
— Ken Reed, Director & Senior Analyst, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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