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 #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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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