By Ken Reed
The NHL work stoppage continues — and unlike the NFL labor dispute that seemed to be non-stop news — nobody cares.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his league’s owners are in deep trouble. Hockey is a fringe sport in the United States and the fact the NHL is poorly run makes things worse. NHL TV ratings historically have hovered around those of bowling. Several sports economists believe it’s a dying league. A lost season would be disastrous for the NHL, as the sports world, including the media, would discover that they simply don’t miss big league hockey.
NHL owners claim that more than half their franchises are losing money. Who knows what the truth is. We do know that in 2004-05, the owners won the work stoppage battle with the players. Owners got the salary cap to control player salaries they were after, along with a larger percentage of hockey revenue. Their goal is to reduce the players’ share of revenue even more this time.
Owners incessantly talk about their financial concerns but as Paul Brownfield wrote in a recent New York Times essay, nobody talks about the league’s concussion problem.
“For all the NHL’s discussion of economic viability and cost certainty, it’s worth noting that neither the players nor the owners are saying much of anything about the biggest threat to the league’s stability: concussions,” wrote Brownfield.
Even if this work stoppage ends in time to play games this season, the NHL brass must make protecting their players’ brains priority one from this point forward, or the league will become increasingly marginalized.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – The guest is Gary McCoy, a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations. Our focus is the injury pandemic in baseball, what’s causing it and how it can be fixed.
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Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
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.
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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