By Ken Reed

John Wooden and others have been quoted as saying, “Sport doesn’t build character, it reveals it.”

I believe this to be true and what it reveals is both good and bad, the best and worst of human beings.

What was revealed in Sports World last week was some of the dark side of the human condition.

Let’s start in Chicago where the Blackhawks made the surprising decision to hold a Patrick Kane bobblehead night on January 24th. The first 10,000 fans attending the Blackhawks game that night will be given a free Kane bobblehead.

What? This guy is under investigation for sexual assault in his home this past summer! Couldn’t the Blackhawks brass put the Kane bobblehead giveaway on hold until the legal process plays out? Couldn’t they have held a bobblehead night for another Blackhawks player on January 24th? Perhaps a player not under police investigation for allegedly committing rape?

Does being a superstar athlete trump everything in the minds of Blackhawks executives?

The team’s decision is wrong on so many fronts but at its core the move reveals a lack of basic human decency.

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Speaking of basic human decency, or the lack thereof, presidential candidate Jeb Bush revealed that he’s woefully low in this area when he came out in support of Daniel Snyder’s decision to maintain the Washington Redskins’ racist nickname. Here’s the Jebster:

“I don’t think it should change it … I don’t find it offensive … It’s a sport, for crying out loud. It’s a football team. Washington has a huge fan base — I’m missing something here, I guess.”

Yes, you’re missing something Jeb. You’re missing the negative impact a racist brand — in our nation’s capital nonetheless — has on our culture. Redskins is a derogatory term that is historically linked with the scalping of Native American heads.

* * *

Snyder’s team plays in the NFL. The NFL got some good news this week … well, it was good news in a back-handed way. September apparently was the first calendar month in six years that the NFL didn’t have an employee arrested.

Start the celebration! Yes, it’s nice that we can go a month without a Ray Rice-type story, but doesn’t it say something about the league if the scoreboard is 71-1 in favor of months with an arrest vs. months without one?

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Finally, let’s end with this week’s latest revelation: Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is accused of providing sex escorts to recruits in a new book. According to the book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” Pitino’s director of basketball operations regularly provided strippers and prostitutes to recruits during campus visits.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said, “We talk all the time. He’s my basketball coach. He wouldn’t condone this, either. He has a perfect track record.”

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Let’s hope this coming week brings better news from Sports World.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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