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 #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.
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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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