Dave Zirin 2-Pack
First Program: Racism, Resistance & Black Athletes
In the wake of a rising number of racist incidents at the University of Missouri, nicknamed Mizzou, black athletes threatened to boycott football games. Wow. Did that get people’s attention. So much of the economy of state universities is tied to football, the multibillion-dollar TV contracts, the multimillion-dollar coaching salaries, and the small fortunes that pour into small towns on game day don’t happen without a group of young men willing to take the field. The emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement threatens the lucrative operation of this machinery. The Southeastern Conference, where Mizzou plays, field teams that, in the words of sociologist Harry Edwards, ‘look like Ghana on the field and Sweden in the stands.’ Athletes have tremendous influence on and off campus. Speaking out and acting collectively, they can bring the powerful to their knees.
Are sports simply a form of entertainment or is there some deeper meaning off the field we are not seeing? From ancient Greece to modern times, sports have always been a big attraction. But in the cable and digital age it is bigger and more lucrative than ever. Sports encompass the world. From soccer in Latin America to cricket in India to hockey in Canada, millions of people are energized by and care about their teams and players. Heroes rise and fall. Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, Lance Armstrong. There are sex scandals, doping, and murder trials. And it’s not just compromised athletes but the owners too. Witness the racist comments by Donald Sterling, the disgraced owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. Media coverage once again demonstrated how sports intersect with critical societal issues.
This event was presented by the Lannan Foundation.
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