By Ken Reed
Imagine a country where football players kneeling on the sideline peacefully protesting inequalities in their country are labeled “unpatriotic,” “treasonous” and “sons of bitches” by the president of the country, while citizens who violently storm the nation’s capitol and break into the House Chamber in an attempt to stop the certification of a presidential election are deemed “patriots,” “peaceful people,” “special” and “normal tourists” by the president and some members of Congress.
That isn’t the plot of some apocalyptic novel, it’s where we are as a country in January 2022.
In an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” show, Donald Trump, the former president and commander-in-chief, called those who attacked the Capitol “peaceful people” and “patriots” in a truly shocking diatribe.
Rep. Paul Gosar has called the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol rioters “peaceful patriots.”
And Rep. Andrew Clyde said “If you didn’t know that TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
How can any rational person who saw the videos of what happened on January 6, 2021 label the perpetrators as peaceful, patriotic or tourists? What we all saw with our own eyes — no matter our political persuasion — was a mob trying to violently and unlawfully halt a democratic process.
And what we saw in videos of Colin Kaepernick quietly and peacefully kneeling during the national anthem before football games was a young man who believed the country wasn’t living up to its ideals. Nobody got hurt. Like him or not, agree with his positions or not, the fact is our Constitution and democratic processes weren’t threatened by his actions. Yet, a lot of people remain more upset with Colin Kaepernick than they are the rioters who stormed the Capitol.
We are a nation that is turned upside down.
Just to be clear, I’m not one who condoned the violent protests and looting that followed the police killing of George Floyd. Those involved in those violent and destructive acts should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Peaceful protests are an important part of our history, our values and our Bill of Rights. If thousands of Trump supporters had gathered in Washington DC and peacefully protested in front of the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 I would’ve fully supported their right to do so.
But that’s clearly not what happened on January 6th, and the fact that some people — most disturbingly our former president and some current members of Congress — continue to spin it as such is not only disappointing and sad but downright scary. And what’s terrifying is that a large number of Americans have bought that spin, ignored what their eyes showed them on January 6th, and subscribed to various conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 election.
If we can’t get to the point where a huge majority of Americans unequivocally denounce what happened on 1/6/21, we have big problems.
Much, much bigger problems than whether or not Colin Kaepernick was wrong for kneeling during the national anthem at a football game.
Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a long-time member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
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.
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.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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