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 #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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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon