By Ken Reed
Is the NFL completely morally bankrupt?
This is the league that runs phony, shameful campaigns to salute military soldiers and veterans.
This is the league that tried to hide evidence that brain trauma was leading to CTE.
This is the league that asks prospective players inappropriate interview questions
That’s a short list for starters.
But my focus today is a question: How can the NFL justify signing the likes of Richie Incognito and Nick Bosa while blackballing for life Colin Kaepernick?
Incognito has a long record of bad behavior and run-ins with the law. He was a key leader in a bullying scandal with the Miami Dolphins in 2013. He was arrested as recently as last year, after threatening to shoot the employees at a funeral home. Nevertheless, the Oakland Raiders have signed him to be a part of their squad for the upcoming season.
Nick Bosa, the overall #2 draft pick in this year’s draft, is a San Francisco 49er. Bosa has filled social media with controversial conservative political rants. He has also ripped African-American celebrities like Beyonce, Jay-Z, Draymond Green and Kaepernick. He also has followed and liked accounts that express support and sympathy for white nationalists. (Fearing these posts might hurt his draft status, as well as his status as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, he has deleted these accounts, including “likes” of posts involving homophobia and the n-word.) The dude doesn’t even have the guts to stand up for his beliefs.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick, who doesn’t have a criminal record, or record of drug or domestic abuse, was blackballed from the league for protesting racism, social injustice and police brutality toward minorities in this country. Kaepernick said he had nothing against military soldiers or veterans, and in fact, said he was grateful for their service. He said he was protesting because — in his view — the United States wasn’t living up to its values and ideals, such as “justice for all.”
As Rob Tornoe wrote for Forbes:
“Colin Kaepernick didn’t commit a crime. He didn’t punch his fiancée in the face or try to cover up a murder. He didn’t run a secret dogfighting ring, or violently throw his girlfriend onto a bed of weapons.
“No, Kaepernick’s only crime is that he offered an opinion while being black. And for that heinous act, NFL owners don’t want any part of him.”
So, here we are. Incognito and Bosa play on in the NFL, while Kaepernick’s career is over. He reached a settlement with the NFL back in February for allegedly being blackballed by NFL owners.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.”
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.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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