Dave Zirin

Photo by Flickr user mickbab

There is a dangling question that hangs over the resignation of FIFA chief Sepp Blatter and the earthquake-inducing arrests of top FIFA officials on racketeering charges and the scandal that has rocked international soccer to its foundations. Simply, why the United States?

Knox College basketball player Ariyana Smith laid on the court for four and a half minutes to honor Michael Brown. Image credit: AP/LG Patterson

Unless it's commodified, laid out over a beat, and marketed to suburban white teens getting their ghetto fix, there is no freedom to be angry in black America.

From Jim Crow to the New Jim Crow to Fox News fulminations about the New Black Panthers, there lurks an existential fear to, in the words of Ronald Reagan, "hold back the jungle."

Nowhere on the cultural landscape is black anger policed more vigorously than in the world of sports. Ask Roddy White and Victor Cruz.

With great fanfare and media buzz, Jason Collins came out of the closet. He was the first active player in major men's sports to do so, and his frustration with other gay male athletes and their fear of coming out helped compel him to act. Ten days before his courageous act, the best college women's basketball player also came out. Her name is Brittney Griner.

Dave Zirin, called Collins' move "massively huge."

Dave Zirin is the host of Sirius XM Radio's popular weekly show, "Edge of Sports Radio." His newest book is Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down (The New Press).


Sometimes the sports world doesn't just reflect the real world. It mocks our world with a vicious veracity. Recently, we learned that Florida Atlantic University had sold the naming rights to its football field. This isn't unusual at all, but the company the school chose amongst many suitors certainly was. The stadium will be known as GEO Group Stadium.


There is no more valuable piece of cultural commercial real estate than a sixty-second ad during the Super Bowl. The NFL's championship game is perhaps the last collective viewing experience in our fractured culture, and at a cost of $3-$5 million a commercial, the NFL and television networks know it.

The Israeli government’s theory seems to be if you degrade the national team, you degrade the idea that there could ever be a nation.

More than 2,000 former NFL players—including Hall of Famers and household names like Art Monk and Jim McMahon—are claiming that the league had direct knowledge that repeated head trauma could lead to everything from Alzheimers to ALS.

Guillen was forced to grovel like a broken man at a press conference that was missing only a stockade.


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We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.


“Climate change isn’t an ‘issue’ to add to the list of things to worry about, next to healthcare and taxes,” Klein...

Real leaders need to lead a push back against the firestorm of fear about Muslims—not fan the flames.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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