By Ken Reed
I have a love/hate relationship with the Masters. From a pure sports perspective, I love the Masters golf tournament. It’s run exceptionally well and played on a perfectly manicured course. The best players in the world are competing and the history and tradition of the golf tournament is terrific. On the other hand, I hate the tournament’s history of racism and wealthy white privilege. For decades, the only Black faces seen on the property were those of servants.
Lee Elder was finally allowed to play in the tournament in 1975, nearly 30 years after Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Tiger Woods became the first African-American to win the Masters in 1997. That win changed the face of golf and spurred a golf boom in the United States and eventually around the world.
The 2021 Masters was another big step forward for the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club. First, Elder was invited to be an honorary starter for the tournament, along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Then a Japanese woman, Tsubasa Kajitani won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament (a tournament that Augusta members started in 2019, after not allowing female members at the club until 2012). And this past Sunday, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama became the first Asian man to win the Masters.
A Black man and an Asian man now own Masters green jackets.
After removing the flagstick on the 18th green, Matsuyama’s Japanese caddie bowed to the course, a sign of class, respect, gratitude and sportsmanship. The video has gone viral. All the visual’s of Matsuyama’s win at Augusta will now join those of Woods’ first win at Augusta.
“Hopefully I’ll be a pioneer in this and many other Japanese will follow,” said Matsuyama through his interpreter to Jim Nantz during the Butler Cabin presentation. “I’m glad to be able to open the floodgates hopefully, and many more will follow me.”
Japan is a golf mad country and Matsuyama’s win will undoubtedly spur golf participation across the country, especially among the nation’s youth. That’s cool to think about.
Meanwhile, the members of Augusta National Golf Club will now have an Asian face and a Black face among the portraits of past Masters champions in their clubhouse. That’s also cool to think about.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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. Linda writes extensively about how youth sports can hijack families, and family outings, non-sports activities and bonding time are lost in the pursuit of the next club team game or travel tournament.
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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.”
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.
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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