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 #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
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. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
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.
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