By Ken Reed
According to fans and media members who saw multiple events at the Rio Olympics, by far the best and most exciting event was the men’s soccer final won by the host Brazilians over Germany in a penalty kick shootout.
Iconic Maracana Stadium was filled to the rafters on Saturday for the gold medal game. Brazil ultimately won 5-4 on penalty kicks, setting off a wild celebration at the stadium and throughout Brazil. The win gave Brazil some revenge for a 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup.
It was Brazilian superstar Neymar who gave Brazil the win with his penalty kick, which provided the final 5-4 margin.
“Neymar went to his knees, then onto his stomach, his hands covering his face, struggling to control his emotions,” according to a New York Times report. “His teammates, who had been on their knees at midfield, as if praying, began running toward him in a jubilant sprint.”
Neymar had delivered gold to his homeland. It was a triumphant deed but in the big picture pales in comparison to his work off the field in Brazil. Neymar spent more than $6 million of his own money to build the Neymar Jr. Institute. The Institute is designed to bring hope to Neymar’s devastated childhood home in Praia Grande, a neighborhood plagued by drugs, prostitution and lousy schools. In addition to his own investment, Neymar has worked to garner sponsors for the Institute.
At the Neymar Jr. Institute, children work on computers, read and write, and study English, Spanish and Portuguese. Adults use the facility in the evenings for vocational training. A dentist and doctors are available, and earlier this month, 32 children received free eyeglasses. The Institute is delivering education, health and hope.
Neymar made a difference Saturday. And that’s been the case since December 2014 when he opened the Neymar Jr. Institute.
— 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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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon