By Ken Reed
Nick Kyrgios consistently acts like a jerk during tennis tournaments. And the powers that be in the world of tennis inexplicably enable his boorish, unsportsmanlike behavior.
Kyrgios lost in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on Tuesday night this week. Afterwards, he demolished two of his racquets while stealing the spotlight from the classy competitor who had just beaten him, Karen Khachanov. During the match, he smashed his racquet on the ground in anger, and spent a lot of time screaming and cursing — often at the people in his own box, which included his girlfriend.
Basically, he acted like a spoiled child who belonged in timeout, not in the world’s biggest tennis stadium playing in one of the game’s biggest tournaments.
It’s truly the definition of insanity to continue to allow his despicable actions in the hope they might change at some point.
Earlier in the tournament he was seen spitting and swearing at his box.
“Go home if you’re not going to f—ing support me, bro,” Kyrgios shouted at his team.
Hey tennis poobahs, is this anyway to showcase and grow your sport?
To be sure, this isn’t new, or a one-off incident. Kyrgios consistently acts like this at tournaments all over the world. He’s the worst possible ambassador for the game of tennis you can imagine. In fact, he’s the very antithesis of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, tennis champions who consistently win and lose with class and dignity.
Perhaps Kyrgios is dealing with depression or other mental health issues. If so, there’s certainly no shame in that. But if that’s the case he needs the people closest to him, along with the game’s leaders, to help him get the psychological and medical attention he needs. Instead, his team and the game’s top organizations and officials continue to tolerate and condone his outlandish actions on the game’s biggest stages.
Kyrgios occasionally gets fined for his outbursts, but the fines are small and, in effect, are nothing but tiny slaps on the wrist. Clearly, they have done absolutely nothing to change his behavior.
What’s really a shame is that kids who love tennis all over the world have to watch Kyrgios epitomize terrible sportsmanship virtually every time he steps on a court.
There’s simply no place in tennis — or anywhere in sports — for Kyrgios’ indefensible behavior.
Ban him. For a year.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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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 #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.
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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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