A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Billy Reed: Dream worth pursuing is black athletes with good education, fully part of whole society

For as long as I can remember, and that’s longer than most, people in the sports world, including myself, have been proud of our history of integration. We point to the likes of Jesse Owens, the African-American star of the 1936 Olympics, held in Hitler’s Nazi Germany; Joe Louis, the heavyweight boxing champion in the 1930s and ‘40s; and Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in...

Billy Reed: As COVID-19 invades college football, can’t we just say health is more important than playing?

The latest information from the sports coronavirus front was a stunner: National runner-up Clemson announced that 23 football players had tested positive of the for the cunning disease. As fate would have it, the Louisville Cardinals are scheduled to play at Clemson on Saturday, Sept. 12. That would be the Cards’ second game of the season, following their season opener on Thursday, Sept. 3, against...

Billy Reed: Can’t wait for ‘Play Ball!’ even for half a season and dreaming of Reds fulfilling their potential

When last we heard from the Cincinnati Reds – you remember them, right? – they were playing spring-training games, working to put together what promised to be the most exciting Reds team in a decade or so. But then they had to pack up their bats and gloves and go home because of the Coronavirus pandemic, which forced the opening of the baseball season to be canceled, the same fate as suffered by...

Billy Reed: Good and bad news for sports, but the coronavirus rules — and the rules are changing

A few weeks ago, the National Football League conducted its first virtual draft, and the Cincinnati Bengals, surprising absolutely nobody, used its No. 1 pick to take Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy while leading LSU to the national collegiate championship. Ordinarily, that would have been a huge story in these parts, with arguments raging on the sports radio talk shows about whether Burrow...

Billy Reed: Hard to take, but coronavirus is victor on first Saturday in May; there’s an at-home party

The Kentucky Derby has been a big part of life ever since I covered my first one on May 7, 1966. The winner on that warm, breezy afternoon was Kauai King, who went wire-to-wire for owner Mike Ford and trainer Henry Forrest. In the jockeys’ room after the race, I heard winning rider Don Brumfield of Nicholasville, Ky., proclaim himself to be the “happiest hillbilly hardboot in the world.” I was...

Billy Reed: About Americans, Ugly Americans, and a world needing first responders more than sports

Fairly early in my career, I made it a point to get to know A.B. “Happy” Chandler, the former two-time Kentucky governor who was elected to the baseball. Hall of Fame for what he did during his term as the game’s commissioner from 1946 to ’51. At that time, there were 16 teams in the major leagues, none west of the Mississippi River, and when Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn (now Los Angles) Dodgers...

Billy Reed: Through coronavirus lens, still seeing that compensation for college coaches is way out of line

As I’ve followed the scary Coronavirus story on TV and the internet, I’ve been looking for stories about how football and basketball coaches, both college and professional, and pro athletes have been stepping up to help fight the crisis. After all, entertainers in America – and I’m including rock musicians, movie stars, and TV personalities with the sports-world folks – are among the wealthiest...

Billy Reed: In times like these, we really need baseball to lift our spirits — and there is a precedent

I am well aware that during this Coronavirus catastrophe, sports journalists are high on the list of unnecessary workers. Many of our most hallowed sporting events have been canceled or postponed. Without sports, who needs sports journalists? However, I am holding out hope that our government and major-league baseball can work out something soon to let the games on in, even in near-empty stadiums....

Billy Reed: After the most unconventional of college basketball seasons, I’m backing the Bears. Maybe…

This has been the most confounding college basketball season ever, a Las Vegas casino sort of thing in which Duke was stunned by Stephen F. Austin in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Kentucky found a way to lose to lowly Evansville in Rupp Arena, and Indiana stumbled on the historic day when Bob Knight put aside his animosity toward Indiana and appeared in Assembly Hall for the first time since the university...

Billy Reed: Covington’s Tom Thacker earned his place in basketball history; UC was just the beginning

In the late 1950s, a lot of young black athletes in and around Cincinnati were excited by the exploits of baseball player Frank Robinson, the Cincinnati Reds’ first African-American superstar, and basketball player Oscar “The Big O” Robertson, the 6-foot-5 star of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats who was considered the best player in the nation. Billy Reed is a member of the U.S. Basketball...

Billy Reed: Don’t underestimate the Dayton Flyers — and keep your eye on Obi; could be a great story

I was there the night in 1967 when Dayton’s Dan Obravac jumped center against 7-foot-2 UCLA sophomore Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in the NCAA tournament championship game in Louisville’s Freedom Hall. Nobody expected the Flyers to win, unless left-handed forward Donnie May scored 50 or so. He didn’t, of course, but had a respectable 21 in UCLA’s 79-64 victory. Everybody was happy...

Billy Reed: Somewhere in Super Bowl pile of hype, gambling, commercialism is… a football game

The Super Bowl is not a football game as much as a celebration of commercialism, gambling, and show business, not to mention greed, bad taste, and hype. To some, it has become the most important day on the calendar, surpassing Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Donald Trump’s birthday. In case anybody cares, the football game is between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. It is the first that...