By Ken Reed
Despite the idealism inherent in the Olympic creed (“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”), the modern Olympic Games have always been a delicate dance between political actions and athletic accomplishments. As long as athletes wear the colors and names of their countries, national anthems are played for the winners, and Big Media is involved, it will remain that way.
The Rio Olympics certainly weren’t an exception. Jennifer Hassan and Tiffany Harness of The Washington Post did a nice job capturing and summarizing some of the top political moments from this summer’s Olympic Games. Some were highly publicized and others were of the obscure variety.
The article lists 11 political incidents. A couple that stood out for me: 1) American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who won a medal wearing a hijab, had this to say to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump:
“I don’t have another home to go to. My family was born here. I was born here. I’ve grown up in Jersey. All my family’s from Jersey. It’s like, well, where do we go?”
2) In a courageous move, Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa won the men’s marathon with his arms crossed above his head, a defiant gesture intended to protest his government’s brutal treatment of the Oromo tribe. The Ethiopian government has killed hundreds of Oromos and plans to reallocate Oromo land.
“If I go back to Ethiopia, maybe they will kill me,” Lilesa said. “If not kill me, they will put me in prison. I have not decided yet, but maybe I will move to another country.”
— 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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