By Ken Reed
So, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue ruled in favor of Jonathan Vilma and against current commissioner Roger Goodell in the NFL’s New Orleans Saints Bountygate case. Interesting little side drama. But that’s all the Tagliabue ruling is. In fact, the whole Bountygate case is but a side drama.
Bountygate is an NFL-created PR tactic designed to help demonstrate that the league’s doing all it can to make football safer. Here’s what the NFL is trying to sell us: Football is not inherently evil. If we just clean it up some and put in a few safety measures all those nasty brain trauma stories will go away, fans can get back to cheering the big hits, and we can get back to making obscene money off men running full speed into each other, often leading with their heads.
Patrick Hruby has written a good piece on Bountygate and its strategic use as a distraction by NFL power brokers.
“At its core, Bountygate has never been about Goodell versus Vilma, a proxy war between players and owners, the trampling of due process or even whether Saints defenders actually had a Cash-4-Cart-Offs bounty system,” writes Hruby. “No, Bountygate is and will always be about violence. About the NFL’s ongoing, increasingly strained efforts to make football’s inherent violence and inevitable human wreckage palatable.”
Here’s the inconvenient truth for Goodell and the NFL owners: Football is inherently dangerous, especially to one’s brain. There aren’t enough safety measures that can be implemented — apart from going to flag football — to change that fact.
“Hitting causes brain trauma,” concludes Hruby. “And hitting is the sport, no matter who Goodell fines or suspends, no matter how well intended he, the league’s players or anyone else happens to be. Including the rest of us. A society that has fashioned a de facto national pastime out of increasingly self-evident harm. Never mind just. Is that right?
— 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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