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 #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
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. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
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.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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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