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 #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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