League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, was interviewed for this article examining the activism of African-American athletes in the United States throughout history.
Following is an excerpt from Al Jazeera on Jackie Robinson as part of a Black History Month feature, The black game changers of US sport
From Muhammad Ali to Serena Williams:
Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in Major League Baseball (MLB) when he stepped out on the field to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, becoming the first African American to play in the MLB.
Over a decade-long career, strife with racial abuse and harassment, the second baseman won the 1955 World Series, was named Rookie of the Year in his first season, and the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) two years later.
After his retirement from the sport in 1956, Robinson devoted his life to the civil rights movement, serving as a board member for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” Robinson once said.
For his achievements and efforts, Robinson received two of the highest American awards: the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Ken Reed, sports analyst and author, believes Robinson is “probably the most famous and influential African American social activist to challenge inequality” in sports.
“Robinson was a man of great integrity and courage,” Reed, who is the sports policy director at the League of Fans told Al Jazeera in an email.
“He was an MVP and world champion on the baseball field, but more importantly, he was an MVP and world champion in the game of life for his work in fighting for social justice in the US.”
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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon