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 #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, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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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.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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