By Ken Reed
The hope was that hosting the Summer Olympics would give Rio de Janeiro an economic and psychological boost. Instead, the city is in the midst of financial, political and crime-ridden chaos.
A recent Washington Post feature article by Dom Phillips reveals a mess of shocking proportions. The government is broke and struggling to pay the salaries of police and firefighters. A week ago, riot police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and percussion grenades at public sector workers (including police, firefighters and teachers) protesting the government’s proposed austerity package. Two former governors have been arrested, one accused of vote-buying and the other of running a vast corruption ring. Violent crime is rising amid cries of execution-style mass killings by overtaxed police. Drug gang activity and murders are up.
The bright, cultural, and economic post-Olympic boom promised to local citizens is nowhere to be found. The world’s elite athletes and avid sports fans have left and what’s left is crime and corruption on a grand scale.
“It’s in the worst condition in 20 years,” says Ignacio Cano, a professor of sociology at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. “You have an economic crisis, a political crisis, a moral crisis. There is a general perception of a very dark time.”
Nelson Mandela once said:
“Sport has the power to change the world, the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way little else can — it is an instrument of peace.”
That can be true. But it can’t be in cases in which unethical, corrupt and greed-driven politicians, event-organizers and media executives are at the helm. In those cases, addressing the question, “What’s best for the people?” becomes a very low priority indeed.
That’s the sad situation in Rio as 2016 comes to an end.
— 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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