By Ken Reed
I’ve always thought we lost one of our best thinkers, best public servants, and best patriots when Robert F. Kennedy was killed.
It would be interesting to hear what RFK would have to say about Colin Kaepernick’s controversial sit-down-for-the-anthem. Who knows what his thoughts might actually be, but there is an RFK quote that’s relevant in this situation:
“The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country.”
To me, patriotism is loving your country so much that you’re willing to make a lot of personal sacrifices in order to criticize what’s wrong in your country and to work to make it a better place for all citizens.
However, for a lot of people in our country, patriotism seems to mean falling in line behind the powers to be, whether they be government leaders, military leaders or even corporate leaders. To these folks, patriotism is unabashed support of those in charge, no matter what.
I wrote at The Huffington Post the other day that I think Kaepernick is indeed a patriot. It would’ve been a lot simpler — personally, professionally and economically — for Kaepernick to keep his opinions to himself and go along to get along. Well, he had the courage — more courage than most Americans — to stand up for something bigger than himself. To stand up for something that he strongly believes in.
Unfortunately, a significant portion of the American populace has responded to Kaepernick’s actions in a very ugly way.
If you don’t like Kaepernick or his stance, fine. Stand up and state your beliefs in the great American marketplace of ideas. But also be thankful that thousands of men and women have sacrificed their lives to give us the right, and freedom, to debate the Kaepernick issue openly.
I still think Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s famous quote provides the most patriotic way to respond to Kaepernick if you disagree with him: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
Yes, defend to the death his right to say it and then state — respectfully — what your belief is.
That’s America at its best. And that is what all of those brave soldiers who died defending the symbol that represents America died for.
It’s called the First Amendment.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
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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