By Ken Reed
Robert Griffin III was a brave, courageous athlete last Sunday. Mike Shanahan was just another win-at-all-costs (WAAC) coach, more concerned about his legacy (a desperate quest to end up in the Hall of Fame) than the future of a bright young star. Basically, Shanahan’s ego led him to go all WAACY when he decided to leave RG III in the playoff game much longer than virtually everyone watching the game thought was appropriate.
It wasn’t surprising, given Shanahan’s history of being much more concerned with wins than his player’s health while in Denver as head coach of the Broncos. He also works for a profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) owner in Dan Snyder. When you mix a WAAC mindset with a PAAC mindset you get ugly results, which is what we got in the Washington – Seattle playoff game.
RG III wanted to play in his first NFL playoff game. He thought he could help his team win. That’s understandable. What’s not understandable is why the NFL doesn’t do more to protect its players. We’ll learn more about that as the giant concussion lawsuit brought by former NFL players against the league draws nearer.
After NFL owners and executives started receiving heat for their handling of concussions, they decided to put in a more player-friendly system for dealing with concussion-like symptoms on the playing field. Griffin, and his NFL peers, need a similar system for dealing with all football-related injuries. Decisions like this can’t be left to the coach and/or the player — or even to team doctors, who tend to favor the interests of the owner and coach they work for.
“An independent voice is necessary,” wrote Troy Renck in an analysis in the Denver Post. “Griffin was never going to remove himself from the game … In a league that is built around violence, the players need more than helmets and pads for armor. The league must protect the players from themselves.”
And their coaches.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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, why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks, and the fact the vast majority of players are for more protective netting in stadiums.
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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.
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.”
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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