Ralph Nader Claims Sports Media Dropping the Ball on Social, Cultural, and Economic Issues in Sports
League of Fans Calls For Sports Journalists to Fulfill Their Journalistic Duty
Asks Fans and Other Stakeholders to Demand More From the Sports Media and Its Large “News Hole”
Ralph Nader announced today that his League of Fans organization is starting a campaign to ask the sports media to increase their work on the social, cultural, and economic aspects of sports.
“The sports media are falling dreadfully short when it comes to the in-depth examination of why our major sports problems exist and what can be done to fix them or prevent them,” said Nader. “They’re overloading their audiences with sugar – the entertainment aspects of spectator sports – and giving them very little in the way of healthy fruits and vegetables – the “whys” and “hows” of our current sports issues. That has to change.”
Ken Reed, League of Fans’ sports policy director, said that from a journalistic ethics perspective, the sports media has the corporate social responsibility to give us more than game coverage, trade rumors and injury reports from our big-time sports leagues.
“As a whole – and there definitely are exceptions — the sports media too often simply identify the symptoms of problems and then stop,” says Reed. “Rarely, do they dig for root causes, or examine important sports issues from a holistic perspective, including social, educational, economic, safety, and health angles. And they don’t ask questions like, ‘Is sport, as presently constructed in this country, meeting the needs of participants, spectators, taxpayers and families?’ There’s virtually no examination of the core sports systems and models at work. For the most part, they’re taken for granted.”
League of Fans is calling for sports media organizations to 1) establish a sports issues and sports reform beat; 2) add an ombudsman function to investigate complaints from fans and other sports stakeholders; and 3) cover all aspects of sports, including participatory sports, not just highly commercialized spectator sports. In addition, League of Fans is asking fans to demand more from traditional sports media and utilize the tools of the Internet to challenge sports media conglomerates.
“Media routines and ruts have been successfully challenged throughout our history,” said Reed. “Traditional sports media companies can be improved by public demand. It’s time to engage in the struggle.”
The announcement came in conjunction with the release of the League of Fans’ eleventh report, “Sports Media Dropping the Ball on Social, Cultural and Economic Issues in Sports,” from its Sports Manifesto. The full report is available here.
Sports Forum Podcast
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, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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More Episodes on Apple Podcasts; Spotify; Google Podcasts; PocketCasts; & Anchor
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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