By Ken Reed
Sportsworld, perhaps the last bastion of pure unadulterated homophobia in American culture, had its closet door kicked slightly ajar in May when NBA player Jason Collins became the first active, openly gay athlete to come out in one of the four major American team sports leagues.
In a poignant letter in Sports Illustrated, Collins wrote about his journey and the reasons he decided to come out when he did.
“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport, ” wrote Collins. “But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. … Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start.”
However, summer has come and gone and Collins remains an unsigned free agent as NBA camps get set to open in a couple weeks. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins had this take on Collins’ current situation:
It was widely assumed he’d land somewhere as an unrestricted free agent to continue his career. Four months later, the wait drags on. The league faces unflattering introspection and a public-relations disaster if Collins goes unsigned. The gay community will not hide its extreme disappointment. The first step in a highly significant movement will be throttled before takeoff.
The consensus of NBA insiders is that Collins can still play. He remains a strong defender, rebounder and imposing big man presence. He’s not starter material but could certainly help a team off the bench.
Here’s hoping Collins’ is signed by some NBA team in the coming days. Being an active NBA player this season would give more gay and lesbian athletes — of all ages and abilities — the courage to come out and be true to themselves.
— 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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