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 #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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon