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 #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
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. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
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.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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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