By Ken Reed
As I went through Ted Wells’ report on the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation in Miami, my primary emotion transitioned from anger to sadness.
What Incognito said and did was despicable. And if the allegations in the report are true, offensive line coach Jim Turner should be fired for, among numerous other things, buying a male blow-up doll for Martin. Offensive linemen Mike Pouncey and John Jerry should be suspended for bullying, and Dolphins’ head coach Joe Philbin should be severely disciplined, if not fired. It’s extremely hard to believe that Philbin didn’t have an inkling of what was going on in his team’s locker room.
But anger, frustration and disappointment aside, this whole case is just plain sad for anyone who loves sports. I played organized team sports through college and what I miss most is not the athletic competition but the camaraderie of being on a team with a collective goal. Upon reflection, it’s the bonding, and the sharing of ups and downs through a season and career, that makes team sports special.
I have been part of enough locker rooms to know that jokes at another player’s expense are part of the locker room culture that helps develop team bonding. Things can be said and done in a locker room that are part of the good-natured bonding ritual that would be viewed as mean-spirited in other parts of society.
But what was going on in Miami went well beyond anything that could be considered healthy.
“We also recognized that good-spirited goading often contributes to team bonding,” wrote Wells in his report. “But limits should exist.” Indeed.
There apparently weren’t any limits in Philbin’s locker room. Incognito, and his band of abusive brothers, went well beyond the athlete’s code of allowable conduct. They broke an important trust in team sports.
To me, the best part of team sports is that it brings people together — often for life.
The fact that it was just the opposite in Miami is why the Incognito-Martin case is so sad.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
Listen on Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor and others.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
More Episodes on Apple Podcasts; Spotify; Google Podcasts; PocketCasts; & Anchor
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.”
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.
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
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon