Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Dave Zirin, author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States
and national radio commentator, has taken the debate over privatization
into the field of sports. Each chapter shines a light on the finances
of a team, tracking how owners are spending money from fans and city
coffers with no public accountability or benefit. Often the funds are
used to advance conservative causes. Zirin argues that not only are
owners ruining spectator sports for fans, they are also putting the
general public at risk by siphoning funds from crucial city
infrastructure (e.g., bridge in Minneapolis, Metro in D.C., and, of
course, public schools) to fund multimillion-dollar stadiums. He
concludes that sports fans should not be mere “scenery for television
broadcasts,” but instead “have every right to try to reclaim sports from
those who would make it alienating and unenjoyable.” Also check out
Zirin’s new film, Not Just a Game: Power, Politics, & American Sports, distributed by the Media Education Foundation ( The website includes the film’s transcript and a full-length preview of the film.

— Rethinking Schools


Funny, engaging, and sharply pointed in his appraisal of the sports complex bankrupting our cities, the celebrated author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States returns with a hard-hitting indictment of big business and the corrupt practices that are ruining the sports we love.

When attending a baseball game becomes a luxury reserved for the wealthy few and cities build multi-million dollar stadiums while letting their bridges crumble, the price of sports in this country demands reassessment. Bad Sports cuts through the hype and bombast to give us a portrait of sports ownership as irresponsible as the financial shenanigans that drove the nation to the edge of economic ruin. From the outrageous use of public funds for stadium construction to the use of these spaces for religious and political platforms, Dave Zirin raises vital questions about misplaced priorities and moral abdications among the politicians we elect and the owners of the teams we root for.

Speaking out in clear and passionate terms for the rights of any taxpayer and sports fan, Zirin returns America’s favorite pastimes back to where they belong—in the open and for the people.

About the Author

Dave Zirin was named one of the "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World" by Utne Magazine. He writes about the politics of sports for the "Nation" magazine, and is their first sports writer in 150 years of existence. Zirin is also the host of Sirius XM satellite's popular weekly show, "Edge of Sports Radio," as well as a columnist for SLAM Magazine, the "Progressive", and a regular op-ed writer for "the Los Angeles Times". Zirin's previous books are What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States; Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports; The Muhammad Ali Handbook; and A People's History of Sports in the United States.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781595587824
ISBN-10: 1595587829
Publisher: New Press
Publication Date: March 6th, 2012
Pages: 222
Language: English