By Ken Reed
As a sports reformer, one tends to focus on what’s wrong with sports and what can be done to make them better. I think that’s a natural tendency and one that’s probably necessary if the goal is to help mitigate the problems in the world of sports.
That said, it’s also worthwhile to highlight some of the positives in sports and provide examples of what’s working.
It’s to that end that I’d like to shine the spotlight on an organization called PeacePlayers.
PeacePlayers was founded by basketball-playing brothers Sean and Brendan Tuohey in 2000 based on their belief that “children who play together can learn to live together.” Sean had played pro basketball in Northern Ireland and had successfully operated basketball clinics for Protestant and Catholic children in Belfast. The success of those clinics provided the inspiration for the formation of PeacePlayers.
Here’s PeacePlayers’ mission statement:
At PeacePlayers, we use the power of sport to unite, educate and inspire young people to create a more peaceful world. We offer sport programming, peace education, and leadership development to those living in communities in conflict. We challenge the hate that is driven by the fear of our differences. We bridge divides between people through the game of basketball and we develop young leaders who help to change perceptions.
PeacePlayers has reached 75,000+ youth, trained 2000+ coaches and worked with 260+ partner schools and non-profits since the Tuoheys launched their organization. According to PeacePlayers, 10% of children live in countries affected by armed conflicts. Therefore, they have a year-round presence on four continents: Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
Here’s a powerful video featuring Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright talking about his first experience on a PeacePlayers project.
PeacePlayers is a great example confirming Nelson Mandela’s famous quote:
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language that they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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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