The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat; the millions of dollars spent in the pursuit of power and celebrity — sports and politics have a lot in common. And although in a perfect world, athletes are supposed to put politics aside when they take to the field, in reality, the two forces are inextricably entwined. Look at the black power protests at the Summer Olympics in 1968, the terrorist tragedy at the Munich games in 1972, or the current controversy around next year’s Winter Olympics in Russia because of that nation’s virulent anti-gay policies. Witness demonstrations in Brazil against millions being spent on World Cup stadiums, or disputes here at home over taxpayer funding of new municipal arenas — not to mention the physical risks faced by athletes from steroid use and repetitive injuries. The NFL recently announced it would pay out $765 million to settle a lawsuit from thousands of former players suffering from concussions and related brain trauma.
Dave Zirin, The Nation magazine’s first ever sports writer, joins Bill Moyers to discuss the collision of sports with politics and why it’s not only inevitable but significant and newsworthy. He’s been called the best sportswriter in the United States and also hosts Sirius XM Radio’s popular weekly broadcast, Edge of Sports. A prolific author, his books include Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love and this, his most recent, Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down.
Watch the episode here: http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-the-collision-of-sports-and-politics/
Coming up on October 8: League of Denial, Frontline’s documentary on the NFL’s concussion crisis