By Ken Reed
America seemingly can’t get enough of Deflategate. Did New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady orchestrate a scheme to lower the pressure in NFL game balls to a level slightly below league specifications? Did Brady and the Patriots design a coverup? Does the NFL have it out for the Patriots and their bully head guru Bill Belichick?
Yawn, yawn, yawn.
Despite its relative lack of importance in the big picture, NFL executives are all over this issue. It’s Priority One. Also, the media and its crack investigative reporters are eating this “story” up. Our best and brightest journalists are on the case big time.
Meanwhile, NFL owners and bigwigs don’t even blink an eye about current franchise blackmail issues and their impact on fans and their tax-paying neighbors. The league allows the owners of the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to shop around for new cities that will build them taxpayer-funded stadiums. These shopping trips could also result in the teams’ current cities (read: taxpayers) ponying up millions of dollars for renovations to existing stadiums or the building of new ones.
Unfortunately, the media spends about 1/1000th of the time spent on Deflategate covering this pro sports rip-off of American taxpayers.
Columnist Jason Notte has done a nice job looking at the NFL stadiums across the United States and deciphering how much public money was used to build them.
“That’s the burden we’re all bearing equally: The welfare of a supposedly “private,” “free-market” league that needs its hand held by Uncle Sam just to conduct simple business,” wrote Notte.
“The average of nearly $250 million per stadium in public funding that state and local taxpayers have allocated to building 21 NFL stadiums since 1997 — not counting multi-hundred-million-dollar renovations to facilities including the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo? That’s just garnish.
“Seattle is on the hook for the $300 million it paid for $460 million CenturyLink Stadium until the last bonds are settled in 2021. However, that city is still paying for the costs of its long-dead Kingdome through 2016.”
The whole Deflategate debacle is but one more example of the sports media dropping the ball on social, cultural, and economic issues in sports while chasing the trivial.
— 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.
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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
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon