By Ken Reed
Austin Murphy has an article in Sports Illustrated’s huge NFL preview issue (August 29-September 5 edition) called “Endgame.” The article looks at the possibility that football, as we know it, could be on its deathbed. The reason? The growing mound of research on football and and the negative health effects resulting from repetitive blows to the brain.
The article is a major breakthrough for those looking to increase awareness and understanding regarding the health dangers of football. Giant sports media companies like Sports Illustrated and ESPN have been reticent to take any strong stands regarding the long-term viability of American football, especially at the youth and high school levels.
Murphy and sports economist John Vrooman suggest in the piece that scared and angry moms might be the ones that ultimately take football down. Think about the power the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has had.
Murphy writes that:
“… the biggest threat to America’s national pastime is not the rising popularity of soccer, nor the chronic gaffes and serial dissembling of the NFL when the subject of head injuries arises. It is the formidable power of one of the most awesome collective forces in nature: concerned mothers.”
Vrooman, a professor at Vanderbilt, thinks it would be ironic “if the mighty, macho monopoly power of the NFL cartel was ultimately taken down by the holistic, protective feminine wisdom of soccer moms united.”
Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley is quoted in the article as saying football is “a violent game that I personally don’t think humans are supposed to play.”
His candor wasn’t appreciated by the football establishment but his honesty is refreshing.
In his article, Murphy creates a futuristic scenario in which he imagines what America without tackle football might look like.
His concluding sentence?
The more Americans learned about the true price for their once-beloved game, the less they were willing to pay it.
— 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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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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