By Ken Reed
Seton Hall guard Derrick Gordon’s stay in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament didn’t last long. The Pirates were eliminated by Gonzaga Thursday night.
Nevertheless, Gordon, the first openly gay player to play in the NCAA tournament, has made a positive difference by coming out.
“I did it because there were a lot of kids out there killing themselves and there were people who stopped playing their sport because they felt they couldn’t fit in,” said Gordon Wednesday.
“Hopefully me coming out could help them in many ways. Looking at me, playing for a top Division I school and being in the NCAA Tournament, they will say: ‘OK, if he can do it, I can do it, as well.”
Gordon said the reaction to his coming out has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Nothing bad has come from it,” said Gordon. “It’s all been extremely positive, just tons and tons of support from across the country. It’s been really great for me, honestly,” Gordon said. “Then me being the first openly gay to play in the NCAA Tournament, that’s when a lot more people reached out, with a lot more people being supportive.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is happy about Gordon’s decision. The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, a strongly anti-gay congregation, announced they would protest Gordon’s participation in the NCAA tourney.
On its Twitter account this week, the church said, “Satan-inspired media loves to stoke his rebellion, but we’ll protest March Madness for Derrick Gordon!”
“The only lawful sexual connection is the marriage bed. All other sex activity is whoremongery and adultery, which will damn the soul forever in hell.”
– Westboro Baptist Church
Progress as a society continually — albeit usually gradually — marches forward, but occasionally we will always have to deal with groups pulling us back.
In the meantime, Derrick Gordon deserves a big shoutout for his courage and willingness to open eyes and help other people.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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 long-time member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
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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.
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.
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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