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 #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – The guest is Gary McCoy, a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations. Our focus is the injury pandemic in baseball, what’s causing it and how it can be fixed.
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Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
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.
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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