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 #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.
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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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