By Ken Reed
The Miami Marlins hired long-time baseball executive Kim Ng to be their new general manager Friday. Ng becomes the first female GM in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. She’s also the first Asian American GM in MLB history. Moreover, Ng is now the first female GM in a major North American men’s professional sports league.
Ng was hired by Derek Jeter, the first Black CEO/president in Major League Baseball. The Marlins also have one of the highest ranking women in pro sports in chief operating officer Caroline O’Connor.
That makes the Miami Marlins the most progressive pro sports franchise in North America today. And it makes Jeter the modern-day Branch Rickey. Rickey broke baseball’s color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson and promoting him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
“I think this is the most noteworthy day for baseball since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947,” said Richard Lapchick, a diversity in sports expert and sports management professor at the University of Central Florida.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers GM and Chicago White Sox assistant GM Dan Evans also deserves a lot of credit for Ng’s success. Evans hired Ng as a White Sox intern in 1990, over approximately 100 other applicants at a time when women in baseball operations was basically unheard of. He also hired Ng as an assistant GM in Los Angeles.
“The best intern I ever hired,” said Evans. “She’s fabulous. She’s worked hard. Nothing’s been handed to her, ever.”
Evans, maybe more than anyone, knows what Ng’s had to deal with on her climb up the ladder in the notoriously conservative boys club that is Major League Baseball.
“We’ll never fully know how uncomfortable it was at times to have that kind of pressure, to be the lone woman in the room,” said Evans.
“To go through some of the harassment and crap she had to go through … for her to go through that and surface to where she is today, I’m thrilled for her.”
Maybe Billie Jean King, a long-time crusader for women’s equality in sports, said it best with a one-word tweet.
— 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.
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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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