By Ken Reed
California Assembly Bill 1309 is designed to prevent NFL players and other professional athletes from suing in California courts to get workers’ compensation for injuries occurring on the job.
Where did such a bill come from? One needs to look only as far as NFL owners and executives for an answer.
As Dave Zirin writes in a recent column on this issue:
“For years, the NFL has lobbied to close what they call a ‘loophole’ because they don’t want players pursuing workers’ compensation benefits in California’s historically labor-friendly courts. Especially now, as thousands of former players are suing the league for the injuries they suffered while playing, they don’t want California courts deciding precedents that can be used in other courts.”
Professional athletes, in particular NFL players, are being singled out by this legislation and star quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady have jointly written an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle outlining their reasons for opposing the bill.
“There is no good reason for professional athletes to be singled out,” concluded Brees and Brady in the op-ed. “We pay our share to the state, we negotiated the costs of the insurance that covers the claims.”
This is clearly a social justice issue. As Brees and Brady point out, AB1309 unfairly focuses on pro athletes by “attempting to classify them differently than other interstate workers, such as pilots, migrant workers, construction workers or actors.”
The bill needs to be shot down; not just in the interest of protecting pro athletes but to prevent possible future legislation that could target other workers.
You can contact members of California’s Senate Labor Committee here to let them know what you think of this bill.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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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.”
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.
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.
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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