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 the award-winning sports editor of The Nation magazine. He is the author of many books including A People’s History of Sports in the United States and The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World. He also hosts The Edge of Sports podcast.