By Ken Reed
The coronavirus pandemic, the seemingly endless Covid-19 news coverage, and the attitudes and behavior of some of our politicians during this challenging time can certainly be depressing.
However, there is a ton of positive stuff happening right now, if one takes time to look for it. Since our focus at League of Fans is the sports world, we’ll stay with all the good things happening in that area the last several weeks.
Many of the following nuggets come from “The Philanthropy Playbook,” a publication for the sports philanthropy community.
The Philanthropy Playbook, April 2020 edition, leads with the following comment:
“Philanthropy Playmakers has been blown away by the resilience and commitment the sports industry has shown in the midst of this global pandemic.”
We second that thought at League of Fans.
There are many examples.
Sports organizations and athletes have stepped up to help the thousands of workers who depend on sports to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.
Some pro franchises are making a difference by donating their unused arenas for blood and plasma drives.
“Sports teaches us that when we throw aside our differences and work together, we are a force to be reckoned with. Our current health crisis is continuing to showcase the power of sports to uplift communities, even though games aren’t being played,” says this month’s Playbook.
The NBA has taken the lead. League franchises and players have donated more than $38 million to the coronavirus cause and 1.5 million meals for local communities. Add to that the donation announced today by former NBA player and current Chinese Basketball Association star Jeremy Lin. Lin has pledged up to $1 million in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“I will be donating $500,000 to Direct Relief and Feeding America and matching all donations up to an additional $500,000,” wrote Lin for The Players’ Tribune.
“I’ll also be highlighting organizations that are shining a light into the darkness at this time, as well as exploring more ways for us all to get more involved. Open to all ideas!”
Back on March 26th, the NFL and the NFL players association had already donated $35 million to COVID-19 relief efforts. Major League Baseball donated $1 million to emergency food services and another $30 million ($1 million per team) for ballpark workers negatively impacted by the shutdown of the season.
Donations from individual players has pushed those figures much higher.
The heart-warming stories go on and on. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank have each donated $5 million to the cause.
The New England Patriots used their plane to bring 1.4 million N95 masks from China to the United States. The Patriots partnered with the state of Massachusetts to purchase masks for its healthcare workers and purchased another 300,000 masks for New York state.
As Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said, “Our actions and our words speak volumes at this time.” Love donated $100,000 to workers at his home arena in Cleveland, a day after the NBA season was suspended.
Here’s hoping that all of us who love sports and are part of the sports community in some way — no matter how small — can step up to help in the battle against this coronavirus.
One possibility: The Athletes for COVID-19 Response Fund. In addition to money donations, athletes are donating signed memorabilia. All of us can get involved. Anyone donating at least $25 will be entered to win their favorite player’s signed memorabilia.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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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