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.
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?
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.”
Let’s hope this coming week brings better news from Sports World.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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