By Ken Reed
One of the greatest boxers of all-time, Teofilo Stevenson, passed away recently with little fanfare at the age of 60. Stevenson was a three-time Olympic gold medalist for Cuba in 1972, 1976, and 1980. He might have won a fourth if Cuba hadn’t boycotted the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
Boxing observers like Howard Cosell and Don King believed Stevenson would have been world champion, or at least in the same class as Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
“Stevenson would have been phenomenal,” said King.
Despite his recognition as one of the best heavyweights — amateur or pro — of all-time, Stevenson is known as much for his sportsmanship and principled stand against commercialism and professional boxing as he is for his Olympic accomplishments. Over the course of his career, Stevenson turned down millions of dollars to turn professional. Stevenson was compared favorably to Ali, and promoters tried to set up a multi-million dollar fight between the two. Stevenson turned it down to stay true to the Cuban credo of amateurism.
“I will not leave my country for one million dollars or for much more than that,” said Stevenson. “What is a million dollars against eight million Cubans who love me?”
Cubans anointed Stevenson a national hero for his accomplishments in the ring and adherence to a strong set of principles. Stevenson once said that the millions of dollars going to boxers would be better spent on children, education and medical care.
“Someone once asked Ali what would have happened if we had fought,” Stevenson once told the Washington Post. “and he said it would be a draw. I think that’s right. It would’ve been a draw.”
One thing’s for sure, both Ali and Stevenson were athletes with a strong conscience.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, 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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