By Ken Reed
Due to the immense popularity of college athletics, especially football and basketball, college athletes have always had a great deal of power.
However, until recent years, they haven’t fully realized it, or utilized it.
The latest example comes from the state of Mississippi, where college athletes played a big role in getting state politicians to ban future use of the Confederate emblem in the state flag. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed the bill into law on Tuesday.
Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill led the charge from the Mississippi sports community to remove the racist Confederate emblem from the state flag. He tweeted last week that he was no longer interested in representing any Mississippi institution on the field if the flag wasn’t taken down. He was supported by numerous teammates and head coach Mike Leach.
Players from Ole Miss joined in as well. Then, last Thursday, 46 coaches from eight different Mississippi colleges and universities went to the state Capitol to call for the end of the Confederate-based state flag. The NCAA and SEC also pressured the state legislature by stating that postseason events wouldn’t be held in Mississippi until the flag and its ugly symbolism was removed.
Omeria Scott, a Mississippi congresswoman representing District 80 in the House of Representatives suggested naming the flag change legislation after Hill, saying “the voice of this young man was a tremendous voice” in the flag change process.
Of course, thousands of Mississippians, from all walks of life, including religious and business leaders, have been calling for a flag change for years. But it took the social change uprising following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop, and the actions of Hill, a courageous football player for Mississippi State, to push the effort over the top.
“We can step up,” said Ole Miss defensive end Ryder Anderson. “We can use our voice, use our platform. Together we are really strong. We can really makes stuff happen if we just come together.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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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