Tags Dave Zirin
Tag: Dave Zirin
The marches in the streets are not done. The die-ins disrupting traffic are not done. Any kind of closure for the families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley and so many others is far from done. Athletic protest actions have the effect of amplifying the impact of a new struggle for human dignity in the face of racism. It has found expression in all 50 states and in solidarity actions in cities around the world, all with the message that Black lives matter.
Speaking about police brutality 50 years ago, Jackie Robinson said: “One cannot expect [Black] leaders to sell the non-violence cause when followers see violence erupting against them every day of their lives. Not even new civil rights bills or statesmanlike speeches can counteract this.”
For a man who spent nearly four decades of his 76 years under the restrictive eye of the U.S. correctional system, few have ever touched as many lives as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. The world-class boxer turned wrongfully accused prisoner, turned advocate for the rights of the unjustly incarcerated, has succumbed to cancer, but his memory and work will endure as long as there are people outside and inside the prisons of the world fighting for justice.
Michael Jordan, as an NBA player, owner and cultural force, has always been proudly apolitical. Most famously, he refused to oppose segregationist Jesse Helms in his home state of North Carolina by saying, “Republicans buy sneakers too.” Yet Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist rant has so upended the NBA apple cart that even Jordan is speaking out.
Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, a 19-year-old top NBA draft prospect, shoved 40-year-old Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr. He has told coaches that he did so after being called “the n-word.” Orr has a wretched reputation, stretching back years, as a Texas Tech “super-fan” who gets off by yelling horrible things at teenagers. Former OSU players like John Lucas III have taken to Twitter to testify about John Orr.
Protests and raised fists have come to life to San Jose State University. For those who have not heard, three white students at San Jose State University have been charged with hate crimes – and a fourth has been suspended – after their African-American roommate was subjected to a series of racist torments that have shocked the entire community.
Today we are seeing service industry workers starting to organize, walk out and be heard and a 21st century Pullman is looking to halt the mere idea that the expansion of service unions will happen on his watch. This is why the struggle at AT&T Park is bigger than 800 concession workers and why everyone has a stake in offering solidarity and support.
John Carlos is best known as the man who, along with Tommie Smith, raised a clenched fist – the Black Power salute – on the medal stand after the 200 meter race. Carlos took bronze, and Smith gold, at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. But that moment was a culmination of months of political discussion among black leaders in America. One such discussion happened in early 1968 in New York City.
General measures could move the cultural discussion and peoples’ behaviors in the right direction, whereas a focus on restricting gun ownership – except for people who fit appropriate medico-legal exclusion criteria – will probably worsen our cultural crisis, increase discrimination and police attacks, and increase the danger of greater social violence and chaos.
Amidst the San Francisco Giants' parade festivities, Sergio Romo, the World Series hero, with a smile that could shame James Franco, parted his jacket to reveal a T-shirt that read, “I just look illegal.” The crowd erupted with joy. Just like in the ninth inning of the final game against the Detroit Tigers, Romo delivered the goods.
As Gabby told the New York Times in June: “I have an advantage because I’m the underdog and I’m Black and no one thinks I’d ever win. Well, I’m going to inspire so many people. Everybody will be talking about, how did she come up so fast? But I’m ready to shine.” Shine she did. Dominique Dawes, the great African-American gymnast who won team gold in 1996, exclaimed: “I feel like Gabby is my child or something. I am so anxious for her to win. I know it will have an enormous impact on encouraging African-Americans and other minorities to go into the sport of gymnastics.”
Before fighting U.S. boxer Marcus Browne, Damien Hooper’s ring attire included a black T-shirt emblazoned with the Aboriginal flag. Hooper, who is of Indigenous ancestry, knew that he was breaking the Olympics “no politics rule,” which states that you can only represent your country or approved corporate sponsors.
It has been almost 44 years since Tommie Smith and John Carlos took the medal stand following the 200-meter dash at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and created what must be considered the most enduring, riveting image in the history of either sports or protest. But while the image has stood the test of time, the struggle that led to that moment has been cast aside.
Let’s stop perpetuating the idea that athletes have forfeited their right to say whatever they damn well please. To Chris Douglas-Roberts and Rashard Mendenhall: Yes, athletes DO have a right to have perspectives, and I hope we can continue to hear what’s on your mind.
Bonds said nearly a decade ago: "I don’t need a headline that says, ‘Bonds says there’s racism in the game of baseball.’ We all know it. It’s just that some people don’t want to admit it." This is the story of the Black athlete today: Die a hero or live long enough to be a villain.
We must protect Hard Knock Radio, Flashpoints and Full Circle from the KPFA chopping block because in essence we are protecting our right to an accessible community radio station, where we can learn, teach and participate in local struggles for community power.
The New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl 44. I can’t believe I’m even typing the words. Four and a half years ago, after the levees broke, the concern was not whether there would be a Saints, but whether there would even be a New Orleans.
In 2008 we are faced with a question: What is the easier path for an African-American male, becoming president of the United States or an NCAA Division I football coach?
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