By Ken Reed
NBA star Kevin Durant is getting blistered in both the press and Twitterverse for choosing to switch employers while a free agent. Durant said his decision was based on what he thought was a better work environment and a city that he feels will help him grow as a player and as a person.
Durant never demanded a trade while under contract. He simply explored his options when he became a free agent. Nevertheless, a lot of people are mad at him for his decision.
“We live in this superhero comic book world where either you’re a villain or you’re a superhero if you’re in this position, and I know that,” said Durant.
“And I know I haven’t changed as a person. I don’t treat people any differently because I made the decision to play basketball in another city. I try to look at this as a game. It’s not life or death. We play basketball for a living. We get to take care of our families. I want to enjoy every day. That’s all it is.”
Durant didn’t switch employers for more money. In fact, he turned down more money from the Oklahoma City Thunder to play for the Golden State Warriors because he loved the camaraderie and chemistry he saw within the Warriors locker room and front office. As Sam Amick wrote in USA Today, Durant was attracted to Golden State because the Warriors “played with joy. They played with a genuine love for one another. On most nights, they had fun. And he wanted that.”
Perhaps some of the reason fans and reporters are angry with Durant is that they don’t like today’s players having so much power to direct their futures.
“They want players to be seen and not heard: chess pieces in a game of live-action fantasy sports, moved by powerful men in board rooms who are armed only with their superior intellect and self-serving blather about “the process,” wrote sports and culture writer Dave Zirin.
“They can’t stand that maybe the best general managers are now the young black stars taking full ownership of their own legacies. They can’t stand that this is a player’s league … Going to the best possible workplace to achieve the greatest success would be a no-brainer in any other profession.”
It should be in professional sports as well.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
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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.
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.
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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