By Ken Reed
Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, baseball’s civil rights pioneer, turned 100 on July 19th, appropriately enough on the day of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.
Jackie was a Rookie of the Year, MVP and World Champion for the Brooklyn Dodgers during his Hall of Fame career. He has received immense praise for the courage and determination he showed in breaking baseball’s color barrier and helping to spur the civil rights movement in this country. All well-deserved. However, his wife, Rachel, was a true equal partner on this mission. She has lived an amazing life and accomplished much as a civil rights activist.
Peter Dreier wrote a terrific tribute to Rachel for Common Dreams. Here’s an excerpt:
Much of what Americans know about Rachel Robinson — who turned 100 today, on July 19 — is what they’ve seen in the two major Hollywood films about Jackie. She was portrayed by Ruby Dee in the 1950 film, The Jackie Robinson Story, and by Nicole Beharie in the 2013 hit movie, 42. Both films depict Rachel as Jackie’s supporter, cheerleader, and helpmate, the person who comforted him when he faced abuse, and encouraged him when he was feeling discouraged.
This is all true, but it is an incomplete picture of this remarkable woman. Rachel Robinson was not only Jackie’s partner, she is also a feminist and civil rights crusader. Within and outside the baseball world, Rachel has been, in her own right, a pioneer for social justice, using her celebrity as a platform to fight for a more equal society.
In addition, Tom Verducci wrote the copy for an excellent video tribute to Rachel. It’s well-worth four minutes of your time.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
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 member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
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.
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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