By Ken Reed
‘It is very much a moral dilemma’
The next lawyer that sues a university, or the NCAA, on behalf of a client who has suffered a brain injury due to playing football will definitely make use of some recent comments from a leader of the University of Colorado.
Linda Shoemaker, vice chair of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, publicly criticized the university’s football program during a board meeting this week.
“There is one risk that I feel like we never discuss, and that is one I want to highlight today — that is football, particularly Division I, Pac-12 football on this Boulder campus,” said Shoemaker. “I believe that we are using these student athletes in football, in a sport that is primarily for our pleasure.
“It (football) is very much a moral dilemma for me now,” continued Shoemaker.
“I don’t want to watch it. I don’t want to participate in it. I don’t believe that it has a good place in the academic enterprise, which is the University of Colorado.”
During her talk, Shoemaker mentioned all the research she has reviewed on the risks of playing football. She also warned the board about the potential legal risks to the university by continuing to sponsor football. In addition, she referenced the remarks of Bob Carmichael, a former University of Colorado football player who has become an outspoken critic of the university for sponsoring football on campus. Carmichael urged the university to consider the risks associated with playing football during a public comment period.
“CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is a byproduct of smashing your head, not just smashing your head but smashing your body,” Carmichael said. He added:
“We need a game that people can play, and their mothers and fathers can say, ‘Yes, son, go ahead and play.’ If you can’t say that to someone, then this university should not support it.”
Shoemaker concluded by pushing the other regents to examine the risks of football to the human brain and to consult experts to “see what we could do as one university to improve student athlete health and safety for our football players.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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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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