Cheltenham grad, Arcadia professor publishes new book on ethical and social issues in sports

Larry Atkins, an Elkins Park native, journalist, university professor, and lawyer who currently lives in Jenkintown, recently published his latest book, “Foul or Fair? Ethical and Social Issues in Sports”. 

The book covers provocative and trending topics in sports, including gambling, college athletics, youth athletics, the psychology of sports fans, mental health issues among athletes, the intersection of politics and the Olympics, and sportsmanship. The work features Atkins’ opinions as well as extensive research and interviews with media professionals, coaches, athletes, and university professors.

Interviews include sports talk hosts Mike Missanelli and Glen Macnow, Philadelphia Inquirer sports writers Marcus Hayes and Aaron Carter, La Salle University Men’s Basketball Coach Fran Dunphy, and former NFL player Joe Valerio.

From the book’s description:

There’s more to sports than what occurs during games. Check your social media, listen to sports talk radio, or watch ESPN–there are daily stories of social issues in sports regarding concussions, playing hurt, gambling, Olympics and politics, athletes as social activists, paying college athletes, recruiting violations, academics, youth sports, diversity and gender issues, hazing, athletes’ mental health, disabled athletes’ rights, sportsmanship, and media coverage.

How do these issues affect athletes, fans, and society?

Written equally for casual and hardcore fans, this book analyzes social and ethical issues in sports in a lively, journalistic manner, combining quotes from writers, broadcasters, athletes, coaches and others with the author’s observations. It shows pros and cons of how sports affect our daily lives and society. While sports inspire and excite us and lead to social change like the civil rights movement, Title IX, and rights of disabled people, controversies surrounding sports can be divisive even as sports work as a uniting factor in society.

Atkins says that it took over four years to write the book, which meant balancing writing with teaching four classes per semester. 

Andrew Salciunas, who co-hosts the morning show with John Kincade on 97.5 The Fanatic, wrote of “Foul or Fair?”:

An incredible read that really paints the picture of life inside and outside of sports. People say that sports are the greatest reality shows on television. We say that because sports are not just about what happens between the lines. Athletes, like us, are humans. Athletes, however, live lives that most of us cannot relate to. This book dives deep into what many of us don’t think about when watching a game, but follow along on social media and the news because we can’t get enough of it. It is informative, entertaining, and very timely as the personalities (and struggles) of athletes become more and more public.

“Foul or Fair? Ethical and Social Issues in Sports” by Larry Atkins can be purchased on and wherever books are sold.

About Larry Atkins

Atkins has written over 500 op-eds and articles for many major publications, including Newsweek, The Hill, Huffington Post, Washington Post, National Public Radio (NPR Commentaries), Real Clear Politics, The Progressive Magazine, Morning Consult, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, New York Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer and Inquirer Sunday Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, Philadelphia Metro, and Street & Smith Sports Business Daily, He is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild. He is also the author of “Skewed: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Media Bias, which was published by Prometheus Books in 2016. He teaches Journalism at Temple University and Arcadia University, as well as Social and Ethical Issues in Sports and Sports Law and Ethics at Arcadia. Atkins grew up in Elkins Park and graduated from Cheltenham High School, La Salle University, and Temple University Law School.

He played varsity soccer at Cheltenham and varsity tennis at La Salle.

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Photo: Jack Kapenstein courtesy of Larry Atkins