The Politics of Sports

Friday, May 31, 2013

This interview originally aired live on May 31st, 2013. An edited version was re-broadcast as part of a special best-of episode timed for Labor Day on September 2, 2013.

In his new book, Roger I. Abrams, professor of law at Northeastern University and author of Playing Tough: The World of Sports and Politics (Northeastern2013) discusses the intersection of sports and politics throughout history.


Roger I. Abrams

Comments [11]

Amy from Manhattan

Looks like I missed one when this segment originally aired. Were the Nazis aware of the political power of sports? One name: Max Schmeling.

And I can't mention him w/out telling the story of how Max Schmeling, the Nazi's showcase model of Aryan superiority (till Joe Louis knocked him out in their 2nd fight), hid 2 young Jewish brothers during WWII & helped them get to the US. Years later they flew him over for a celebration & revealed what he'd done for them.

Sep. 02 2013 11:27 AM
Kate from Wa

Hi Brian - I love your show. I am disappointed, however, that your show today does not have a Labor Day theme. The choice to make all holidays fall on Monday has encouraged a "Hey let's relax" vibe to almost every holiday, and I prefer that we honor the intention of the holiday. I don't think on MLK Day that you would have this line-up of "Best-of's". We really need to remember the reason for Labor Day and raise it up as much as we can. Some sports is OK as part of the mix, but the only vaguely Labor-Day related segment today is the women on the farm one. Please consider doing it differently next year. Thanks.

Sep. 02 2013 10:59 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

You made it through the whole week without once mentioning the Obama/IRS/Holder lawlessness! No easy feat!! Very deft avoidance, even for WNYC/NPR.
You also haven’t mentioned the IRS targeting of PRO-ISRAEL groups that has been uncovered.
Pretty shameful for a guy who still has the chutzpah to describe himself as a Jew on this program.
Gee, am I allowed to say that?

May. 31 2013 09:43 PM
clive betters

i think mr abrams, might learn something from mr hedges. i don't believe in automatically cheering on soldiers,they don't give my life meaning.

May. 31 2013 06:46 PM
clive betters

even if only implied most of the time,radio sport talk in this country is pretty much right wing. dave zirin, has about as much chance of getting on ESPN,as rush limbaugh has,of writing for mother jones.

May. 31 2013 05:58 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Wait, did Roger Abrams do that whole segment without mentioning Tommie Smith & John Carlos's bowed heads & raised fists in the 1968 Olympics?

May. 31 2013 12:01 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I like George Carlin's take on Muhammad Ali's decision to be a conscientious objector: "I'll beat 'em up, but I won't kill 'em."

May. 31 2013 11:43 AM

What about sports as a surrogate for war?

May. 31 2013 11:38 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The 1st example was the Romans? You mean the Olympics never got political? (I'd call the exclusion of women even as spectators political.)

May. 31 2013 11:36 AM
Sara from Bushwick

When I hear sports and politics I think about the great Brazilian footballer Socrates.

May. 31 2013 11:33 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Does the author have anything to say about college athletics? The recent spectacle at my alma mater, Rutgers University - most of it caused by Governor Christie's meddling, in my view - is an example of the power differential between moneyball college athletes and the coaching staff. The exploitation and abuse is far more common than most viewers would like to admit.

Moneyball athletes - usu. football and basketball - but possibly soccer, baseball and other sports depending on the university - ought to be funded out of alumni-generated trusts, rather than the general athletic fund AND these athletes need to be compensated - probably in the form of their tuition and an annuity. Megadollar salaries for college coaches needs to end but since it probably can not, the exploitative imbalance in compensation needs to be corrected.

Then, possibly, RU would have an incentive to put crew, swimming and diving and fencing back on the varsity roster.

My ultimate view is that college athletics are better participated in than watched and anything that increases on-campus participation OVER viewership is the preferred goal.

May. 31 2013 11:14 AM

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