This week on Full Frame: The ugly side of sports

Full Frame

Featured Video Play Icon Piara Powar, chair of Football Against Racism in Europe, talks about the game’s social challenges.

Around the world, nothing seems to generate controversy like sports. But beyond the headlines, the professional sports world is grappling with some tough challenges both on and off the field.

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These challenges reach far and wide; from racism and hate in the world’s most popular sport to injuries that are not yet fully understood and gender-bias and inequality in all facets of the sports world.

This week on Full Frame, a look at the ugly side of sports.

Piara Powar: Taking a stand against racism

Football is known as “the beautiful game” and is arguably the most popular sport on the planet. With professional clubs and leagues in nearly every country and its marquee tournament, the FIFA World Cup, football is able to unite the world like nothing else.

But the sport also has an ugly side. A history of xenophobia, racism, and homophobia has plagued professional football for decades. And, as Russia prepares to host the 2018 World Cup, anti-discrimination groups have documented dozens of racist behaviors linked to the country’s domestic football program, bringing into question the game’s “inclusiveness”.

Piara Powar is one of the most respected voices in the fight against discrimination in the sport. He’s the executive director of FARE, Football Against Racism in Europe, an organization dedicated to ending bias in the world of football. FARE is currently active in more than 40 countries around the world.

Piara Powar joins Mike Walter from London to discuss football’s social challenges.

Teena Shetty: Making sports safer

Physical injuries are an inherent part of the game for many athletes, but the long-term effects of more severe injuries, like concussions, have yet to be fully understood. As athletes continue to put their bodies on the line for the chance to play the sports they love, the need for further research into the long-term effects and risks of concussions is vital for the survival of competitive sports, and, more importantly, its players.

Dr. Teena Shetty sees the ugly side of these severe injuries first hand. She’s a neurologist the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. She specializes in sports neurology, concussions and neuromuscular diseases. She is the neurologist for the New York Mets baseball team and works as a consultant for the New York Giants American football team.

Dr. Tina Shetty joins Mike Walter in our New York City studio to discuss the efforts of the medical community to make sports safer for players at all levels.

Melissa Ludtke: Pioneering change in a man’s world

Chances are you won’t recognize the name Melissa Ludtke, but you should. In 1977, she took on a titan, the U.S. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. That’s because he denied her access that her press credential clearly authorized her to have, preventing her from interviewing players in the team’s locker rooms. As a result, in 1978, Ludtke made history when she won a federal lawsuit contending that Major League Baseball’s media policy amounted to unequal access for female reporters.

The case garnered global attention with headlines like “Babes in Boyland,” “Battle of the Sexes’ Invades Sports’ Locker Rooms,” and “How Far Does Equality Go?”. The landmark case was the beginning of a revolution in the fight for women’s equal rights as sports reporters – a fight that continues today.

Melissa Ludtke is an author, filmmaker and award-winning journalist. She’s reported for Sports Illustrated, CBS News, and Time Magazine. Melissa won the Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association of Women in Sports Media, and the Yankee Quill Award for Lifetime Achievement, citing her distinguished history of fighting for equal opportunities for women sportswriters.

Melissa Ludtke joins Mike Walter in our studio to discuss the changes garnered by her historic efforts and the current challenges faced by today’s female sports journalists.