By Ken Reed
Several good pieces have come out the last couple days about how college athletes are embracing the power they inherently have to help shape college sports moving forward. Pac-12, Big Ten and Mountain West football players have presented their conferences with a list of demands that they want addressed before they move forward with this season.
“This is their call. You may not like it, but times have changed. The players are acutely aware they control both the supply and demand of college football,” wrote CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd.
“Taking a knee? How about taking charge of a sport that has exploited its players for far too long? With athletes formally organizing, history is being witnessed in real time. They have finally realized, en masse, that they are the product.”
College athletes have never had a union to represent them and voice their concerns. The NCAA, supposedly created to protect athletes, is toothless. Now, as athletes have been called back to campuses across the country in the midst of a pandemic in order to make money for universities, college football players are resisting and organizing via social media.
“Perhaps the silver lining to the atrocity of this summer of harm, then, has been the incredible burgeoning resistance movement from college athletes who are seizing power and speaking out against a system that has long denied their voices,” wrote Nathan Kalman-Lamb, Derek Silva and Johanna Mellis in a well-done long-form piece in The Guardian.
It’s very possible we’re in the midst of a perfect storm, out of which, a more just — and safer — college sports model could emerge.
“This is creating a reckoning for the plantation system of college football like we have never seen before,” wrote Dave Zirin in The Nation.
“It’s the pandemic. It’s the racism. It’s the absence of economic justice. And it’s a volatile combination that could change the system forever.”
— 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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