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 #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.
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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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