A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Billy Reed: This true fan is grateful to baseball (and to Reds) for providing a link to our previous normalcy

During World War II, President Roosevelt allowed professional baseball to continue as usual because he felt it was a way of boosting morale both at home and with our troops overseas. It also was a way of thumbing our nose at our enemies. Now, more than ever, I appreciate FDR’s wisdom. Here in the age of Trumpism and the Coronavirus, baseball has again provided us with a link to our previous normalcy....

Billy Reed: Just when I was thinking some people had good sense, we find out it really is about the money

Yes, that was heartfelt applause you heard coming from this corner when two of the country’s major college sports conferences, the Big Ten and the Pac-12, announced their teams would not play football this fall due to concerns about the coronavirus. Finally, I thought, we have some universities who put the health and welfare of their athletes above the money that football generates. Finally, I thought,...

Billy Reed: When my high school granddaughter is playing field hockey, I won’t promise not to worry

This fall my younger granddaughter is playing field hockey at Assumption High School in Louisville. She loves the sport so much that she transferred to Assumption so she could play on one of the state’s best teams. So far, so good. Her parents, my older daughter and her husband, assure me she is happy and doing well in her new environment. That’s good enough for me because I so much admire them...

Billy Reed: Strange Derby is over; maybe next year can be normal; Baffert sets record with Authentic

All you horse-racing fans who have been waiting to exhale no longer have to hold your breaths. On a lovely late-summer day at Churchill Downs, the 146th Kentucky Derby was run without a hitch before a “crowd” of around 200. Nobody was beaten and nothing was set on fire. The protesters outside the track grounds were mostly peaceful. In fact, the only guy who got knocked down was Bob Baffert, who...

Billy Reed: We should all stand (or take a knee) against racism in sports and life — it needs to end

I was thrilled last week when several NBA teams boycotted their playoff games to show solidarity against racism. Black lives matter. The murders of innocent African-Americans by trigger-happy white cops must stop. That was the message, and they sure got plenty of media time to express their anger and demands for change. I must admit that I thought, “Where have you been?” But I quickly stifled that....

Billy Reed: In a week celebrating inclusion, tolerance in one area, Thom Brennaman implodes in real time

It is sadly ironic that Cincinnati Reds television announcer Thom Brennaman committed career suicide by slur while the Democratic National Convention was celebrating diversity, inclusion and tolerance in uplifting fashion. That’s why I didn’t see or hear Brennaman’s shocking implosion in real time. I was watching the Democrats nominate Kamela Harris as Joe Biden’s runningmate. It wasn’t until...

Billy Reed: We must hope Churchill Downs comes to its senses; big Derby crowd is too great a risk

In announcing Churchill Downs plan for what’s left of the Kentucky Derby, track president Kevin Flanery said in a news release, “We’re optimistic that this time-honored event, which belongs to our community and our country, will serve as a progressive and unifying force that can help bring us together.” Really? I would like to think Flanery is right. Instead, I’m wondering what they are...

Billy Reed: Look for Billy’s cutout in the Reds stands and don’t play golf with Trump (integrity matters)

I freely admit that I have enjoyed watching the Cincinnati Reds on TV, even though I seriously doubt if major-league baseball will be able to continue dodging the Coronavirus pandemic that has shut down so many things we love. For example, the Louisville Bats canceled the entire season months ago. They’re the Reds’ Class AAA farm team, and I miss going to Slugger Field on the banks of the Ohio...

Billy Reed: Happy to debate facts vs facts with anyone, but to be clear — Adolph Rupp was not racist

Naively, I now realize, I thought I would never again have to write the column about whether Adolph Rupp was a racist. The facts simply do not support the notion that he was. Period. Yet once again, 43 years after his death, the legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach is being attacked by some opportunists who refuse to let the facts get in the way of their prejudices and perceptions. Inspired...

Billy Reed: Historic properties folks still haven’t said what statue will replace Davis; should be Ali

It was on June 11 when the Kentucky Historic Properties Advisory Commission voted 11-1 to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, from the Kentucky state capitol rotunda. (The lone vote against was Brandon T. Wilson who said the issue was being politicized and that he wasn’t there to remove history but to protect it.) The Commonwealth received much national and regional...

Billy Reed: Paying homage to former college athletes on medical front lines in battle against COVID

Let’s stop fretting, for just a moment, about whether we’ll have 2020-’21 basketball season, and concentrate on paying homage to all the former athletes who now are on the front lines of the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic. They come from different sports and different nations. They come from both sexes and with different skin colors. What they have in common is that they used the educations...

Billy Reed: Birthday remembrances with a baseball soundtrack playing prominently in the background

Today is my birthday, and a lot of things go through your mind when you reach my age. I remember, for example, Mickey Mantle’s famous quote before he died: “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d taken better care of myself.” I think a lot about baseball because the season always was in full swing on July 12. Not this year, of course, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But I still...

Billy Reed: Proud of military service, however miniscule, where life lessons were learned

On the Fourth of July weekend in 1967, I was in U.S. Army basic training at Fort Ord, CA, a picturesque place hard by the Pacific Ocean just south of Monterey, home of a famed music festival. I didn’t know why I was there instead of Fort Knox near my home in Kentucky, and when I asked an officer, the only response I got was, “Reed, you have a bad attitude.” I’ve been thinking a lot about that...

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: Finally, at long last, Jefferson Davis’ statue out of Rotunda. Bring on Muhammad Ali

So the statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, finally is being removed from the rotunda of the Kentucky state capital building. Gov. Andy Beshear made the announcement on Thursday, June 12, giving credit to the Historic Properties Advisory Commission for acting “pursuant to my request.” I had to smile because on June 6, 2016, in a column for a Louisville television website, I...

Billy Reed: Remembering the great Wes Unseld, a big fella with a stellar career, dead at age 74

The last time I saw Wes Unseld, we were at a cocktail party in Louisville, participating in an event called “Louisville’s Legends.” The big fella was still massive, and I seem to recall a walker or cane nearby. I knew he had been suffering from some physical ailments. When he saw me, he smiled and motioned me to come sit with him. After the usual greetings, he said, “I need to get you up to...

Billy Reed: Racism has to stop now. What’s wrong with us? What can we cure this insidious disease?

“…I have a dream that the day will come when my four little children will live in a nation where they are judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character…” The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. August 28, 1963 It sounded as simple and right then as it still does now....

Billy Reed: College athletics directors need to think outside box in this brave new world of coronavirus

So here we are at Memorial Day weekend, and there’s no baseball being played in the major leagues because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Not only that, but the sleek racing cars won’t be vroom-vrooming around the Indiana Motor Speedway in the classic Indy 500, a Memorial Day staple since Ray Harroun dove something called a Marmon Wasp into victory lane. As actor William Bendix would have put in “The...

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...