By Ken Reed
Roger Goodell and the NFL owners lost. NFL fans and social media won.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners chose to make a mockery of their “product,” and tarnish their “shield” by locking out the league’s officials before the start of the season. It was a bonehead move based not on money (the couple million dollars it cost the owners to settle with the regular officials amounts to little more than valet service expenses for the owners) but on pure ego and an amazingly inflated sense of power.
The NFL owners thought their league was so popular with the fans, media and sponsors that they could do anything, at anytime.
But in this case the fans rose up and called them on it. “No mas” was the primal scream heard loud and clear at NFL headquarters in the first 24 hours after the sad joke that was the Monday Night Football game between Seattle and Green Bay ended. Fans had simply had enough of the consumer fraud Goodell and the owners were putting on display every weekend.
The fans turned to social media to express their disgust. Goodell’s cell phone number was circulated via Twitter and thousands of fans left him, let’s say, strong messages. Thousands of other fans posted blogs on websites and posted angry opinions on Facebook. This thing went viral fast. Social media sites were buzzing. Fans were upset with the replacement officials and incensed that Goodell and his billionaire owners continued to allow them on the field. Call it a democracy uprising.
Goodell and the fat cat owners surrendered late Wednesday night.
In the aftermath, the owners, Goodell, the players’ association, the media, the regular officials, and probably others, will all claim credit for settling this labor dispute. But make no mistake the heroes in this NFL drama were the fans who demanded to be heard.
A tip of the fedora to all the fans who rose up and said enough is enough.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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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