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 #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, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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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.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
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.
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
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