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 (www.mediaed.org). The website includes the film’s transcript and a full-length preview of the film.
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.