By Ken Reed
In the wake of women’s national team member Megan Rapinoe’s decision to kneel during the national anthem last September in protest of injustices she was seeing in the United States, the U.S. Soccer Federation has issued a new rule REQUIRING all players to “stand respectfully” during the Star Spangled Banner.
If you took the “U.S.” part out, and inserted “Syria” or “North Korea” in front of “Soccer Federation” you would understandably think the new rule had been passed down from dictators Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong-un.
What happened to the First Amendment, the thing that more than anything else separates us from Syria and North Korea?
As a country, we’ve always cherished the freedoms we have relative to citizens of other countries. Allowing our athletes to kneel during the national anthem — if that is what their consciences are moving them to do — sends a symbolic message to the rest of the world that says, “We value the free speech rights of our citizens more than we do their postures during our national anthem.”
Personally, I think it’s appropriate to stand during the national anthem, for a variety of reasons, but I also support my fellow citizens’ First Amendment right to do otherwise.
I also would prefer that U.S. Soccer spent more time figuring out ways to pay the men’s and women’s national teams equally, than worrying about whether players stand or kneel during the Star Spangled Banner. To me, equal pay for equal work is a more important American value than how erect one stands during the national anthem.
We’re better than this silly national anthem policy from U.S. Soccer. We’re Americans.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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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.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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