The Athletic-Industrial Complex
Sports play a central role in many societies, perhaps nowhere more so than in the United States. From Michael Vick to T. O., to Barry Bonds and A-Rod, athletes are under the microscope. They are multi-millionaire gladiators. Their every dropped ball, at-bat, comment, and gesture are grist for the sports talk mill. There are hours of radio and TV devoted to their triumphs and failures. Every detail is carefully scrutinized. Fans are knowledgeable and are fearless in criticizing players and teams, coaches and managers. It is not unusual to hear indignant calls insisting that so and so is a bum and should be traded or fired for doing a lousy job. Fair enough. It’s curious that politicians are rarely the targets of similar demands for performing poorly.
Dave Zirin is sports editor for The Nation magazine and host of Edge of Sports Podcast. He is the author of many books including The John Carlos Story, What’s My Name, Fool?, A People’s History of Sports in the United States, Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down and Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics and the Future of Democracy. His writing earned him Press Action’s Sportswriter of the Year Award.