By Ken Reed
The last week hasn’t been a good one for pro sports, and the concepts of sportsmanship, integrity, honor, and ethics.
The NFL, which constantly preaches about protecting the integrity of the shield (the NFL’s logo), made Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston the top pick in its annual draft.
To say the least, Winston has a shaky off-the-field background. His list of indiscretions and problems is much too lengthy to go into detail here. However, Winston remains in the middle of a civil lawsuit that charges him with “sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of forcible rape.”
Moreover, Erica Kinsman, who filed the lawsuit, brings up an alleged second Winston sexual assault victim in the suit.
According to the lawsuit filing, “On October 25, 2013, Plaintiff’s victim advocate at FSU (Florida State University) informed her that a second woman had come forward and reported being sexually assaulted by Winston.”
In other news, the Wells Report was released yesterday in the investigation into “Deflategate,” which examined charges that the New England Patriots deflated balls below the league minimum so star quarterback Tom Brady could grip them better. The Wells Report called some of Brady’s claims of innocence “implausible,” and left little doubt that Brady had a role in having footballs deflated before last year’s AFC title game against Indianapolis.
Attorney Ted Wells, who authored the report, found Brady’s denials lacking in credibility.
“We found these claims not plausible and contradicted by other evidence,” wrote Wells in the report.
This is the Patriots second case of cheating in the last decade. The first being a videotaping scandal called “Spygate” in 2007. How will the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell, react to the Wells Report?
Elsewhere in pro sports, it’s now known that boxer Manny Pacquiao entered the ring with Floyd Mayweather with a shoulder injury that severely limited his ability to compete. Instead of reporting the injury, and postponing the latest “Fight of the Century,” Pacqiiao decided to keep the injury quiet, allow the fight to continue as scheduled, and collect millions of dollars in the process. Days after the fight, Pacquiao underwent shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff.
Meanwhile, In NBA/WNBA news, James Dolan, the owner of the NBA’s New York Knicks and the WNBA’s New York Liberty, hired former NBA star Isiah Thomas to be the Liberty’s president and part owner. This despite Thomas’ unsuccessful history as a basketball administrator and coach, and, more importantly, despite being the target of a sexual harassment lawsuit from his time as an executive with the Knicks.
In that case, a jury awarded former Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders $11.6 million, after finding that the team improperly fired Sanders for complaining about Thomas’ sexual harassment. Jurors heard the following: “Thomas, after arriving as team president in 2004, routinely addressed her as “bitch” and “ho” in outbursts over marketing commitments. He later did an abrupt about-face, declaring his love and suggesting an “off-site” liaison,” she said.
Despite all this, Dolan felt it made perfect sense to put Thomas in charge of a women’s professional basketball team.
To say the least, it was an ugly week in professional sports, an industry where win-at-all-costs and profit-at-all-costs mentalities are increasingly leading to ethical, if not legal, missteps.
— 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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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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