By Ken Reed
Venus Williams is a household name in the vast majority of American households (and many households around the globe, for that matter). The reason? Her epic tennis career: Seven Grand Slam titles, #1 world ranking, and Olympic gold medal winner, for starters. But in terms of positive impact on the world, she’s done her best work in the equal rights field.
Williams led the fight for equal pay for women at Wimbledon, the French Open and the Australian Open (Billie Jean King is credited with getting equal pay for women at the U.S. Open, after threatening a boycott). She was also the engine behind getting the WTA to partner with UNESCO in their impactful gender equality campaign. In addition, Williams has an integral role in Brawny’s “Strength Has No Gender” campaign, which recognizes women who have fought for equal rights in a variety of male-dominated fields.
“We should all speak up when you have the opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself and when it’s something that’s not right,” says Williams.
Larry Scott, current commissioner of the Pac-12 conference and former chairman and CEO of the WTA, is a big fan of the oldest of tennis’ Williams sisters (along with superstar sibling Serena).
“My sense is, over time, she will have a place in the history books in terms of equality for women and the role that athletes can play to effect social and political change in the world,” says Scott.
Williams says she will continue encouraging people — of both genders — not to accept societal limits on what’s possible.
“I personally believe in no limits at all,” says a passionate Williams.
“If there’s one thing I believe in at all, it’s don’t accept limits.”
In summarizing her message, Williams says, “You can be anything you want to be, as a male or female. That’s what this message is.”
What a terrific message to share with people, young and old. Here’s hoping Venus keeps up the good fight, long after her playing career ends.
— 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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