Professional athletes have recently faced increasing criticism when they engage in political discourse, even though athletes have long had a history of political engagement. Dave Zirin, award winning sports editor for The Nation, will deliver the Daniel W. Kops Freedom of the Press Lecture on “The History of the Activist Athlete” March 22 at 4:45 p.m. in Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.
“Sports have become a staging ground for tensions in our culture around race, American identity and the meaning of patriotism,” said Noliwe Rooks, associate professor of Africana studies, and the director of the American Studies Program. “Dave Zirin was the perfect speaker to offer insight, historical context and rigor in a way that would help us to understand the intersection of athletes and activism.”
Zirin is the author of eight books, including “Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy” and “The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment that Changed the World.” He has appeared on ESPN, Democracy Now and MSNBC. He is the host of The Nation’s “Edge of Sports” podcast, and has co-hosted “The Collision: Where Sports and Politics Collide on Pacifica Radio” with former NBA player Etan Thomas. He writes a weekly column for edgeofsports.com.
Zirin has called for boycotts of sports teams for political reasons. iIn 2010, he argued for a boycott against the Arizona Diamondbacks to protest Arizona SB 1070, a controversial immigration bill, and supported the Phoenix Suns when they went by “Los Suns” during the playoffs as a statement against the bill.
Daniel Kops ‘39 established the Daniel W. Kops Freedom of the Press Fellowship in 1990 and American Studies faculty nominate and vote on speakers for the lecture each year.Past speakers include Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic; Frank Rich and Gail Collins of The New York Times; Jonathan Adelstein of the Federal Communications Commission and Al Jazeera’s Amjad Atallah.
Further details about the event can be found here.