By Ken Reed
Dave Zirin is an activist sportswriter. In other words, he looks beyond the playing fields to economic and social justice issues in the world of sports. I don’t always agree with his takes (although the vast majority of the time I do), but I couldn’t agree more with his selection for 2013 Sportsperson of the Year.
In considering his Sportsperson of the Year, Zirin asked himself “who best represents what I believe to be the most important narrative in the sports world from 2013?”
His answer was right on the money.
“The story of the year in sports is, for me, a no-brainer. This has been the year when the ‘last closet’ has been breeched with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes, as well as their allies, finally being heard. The story that best demonstrates the distance traveled in 2013 is the story of Robbie Rogers, and he is my Sportsperson of the Year.”
Rogers is a pro soccer player who came out of the closet and then abruptly retired at age 25. He didn’t want to deal with the “circus.” Then, inspired by the courage of basketball’s Jason Collins, Rogers signed a contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy and became the first active openly gay male athlete in a professional team sport in North America.
Today, Rogers doesn’t know why he was so afraid to continue his playing career, but he’s glad he came back to the game.
Rogers said, “It’s awesome to be part of a movement that is changing society.”
And it’s awesome that 2013 saw so much progress for LGBT athletes.
— 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.
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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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