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Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down Paperback – January 29, 2013


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Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down + People's History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play (New Press People's History) + Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595588159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595588159
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Short of wearing out the subject of politics in sports (Bad Sports, 2010, and A People’s History of Sports in the United States, 2008), sports analyst Zirin focuses here on the pushback by athletes and fans around the globe against injustices they see, whether in sports alone or on the larger political stage. For example, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns changed their name to Los Suns for their 2010 Cinco de Mayo game versus the San Antonio Spurs to express their solidarity with Arizona’s Hispanics over the state’s tough anti-immigration laws. The NFL Players Association stood against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s efforts to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers there. And there was worldwide support of South African runner Caster Semenya, who won silver in the women’s 800-meter event at the 2012 London Games, over questions regarding the legitimacy of her stated gender. Other subjects include the Penn State scandal, the public reaction to Linsanity, and the continued objectification of women in sports. Readers who have responded to Zirin’s other highly engaging books will find more of the same here. --Alan Moores

Review

“A damning indictment of all that is corrupting sports and a song of praise for athletes standing up for human rights and decency.”
Kirkus

“In his enlightening essay collection, Nation columnist and author Zirin (Welcome to the Terrordome) employs common sense and research to show that politics and sports are entangled, whether it’s members of the Green Bay Packers supporting the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin’s public workers or the Phoenix Suns donning ‘Los Suns’ uniforms to protest Arizona’s controversial, immigrant-obsessed law, SB 1070. . . . Zirin steadfastly demonstrates how the games we watch are not just an escape from the everyday: they are a reflection that provides a perfect opportunity for protest and change.”
Publishers Weekly

More 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.

Customer Reviews

I don't know the answer but I do know that I stayed up reading this book.
Julia K.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a sports fan... whether you're into politics or not... it is a great read.
Roxanne Neumann
Too often, unfortunately, Zirin's historical work is a bit less sophisticated than I would like.
Roger D. Launius

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Peter Richardson on January 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
Zirin's newest volume returns to his favorite topics: race, gender, unions, the corporatization and corruption of sports, and athletes willing to speak out on any of the above. What makes his work important, even indispensable, is his selection and emphasis. Simply by raising the issues he does, Zirin makes a unique contribution to our understanding of American popular culture.

"Game Over" is mostly a snapshot of sports and society from 2010 to 2012. The Occupy movement looms large, as does the Arab Spring, World Cup, Jeremy Lin mania, and Penn State child rape scandal. All are grist for Zirin's mill, but they also reveal the beauty of his formula. American athletics, at least in its current institutional forms, can be counted on to produce a steady stream of fresh outrage.

One can quibble with Zirin's analysis, but what other American journalist is writing about the revolutionary role of Egyptian soccer hooligans? Who else is remotely interested in the hidden costs of the Olympics and World Cup, especially for workers and activists in host countries? Whether or not you accept his arguments, Zirin consistently calls our attention to the social context and significance of sports, and "Game Over" keeps that streak alive.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on April 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Dave Zirin does certainly not have writer's block. He has been churning out books virtually every year since 2005 when he published "What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States." He gives voice to my frustrations with his leftist take on sports, politics, and society in modern America. Zirin is at his best, as in the case with this book, when he does not try to write history but instead comments on current issues. Too often, unfortunately, Zirin's historical work is a bit less sophisticated than I would like. That is not the case with this book. He focuses in "Game Over" on a series of recent events in the incursion of politics into sports, mostly in the U.S. but also with some discussion of events elsewhere.

The book opens with a narrative of how NFL and NBA owners both sought at essentially the same time a massive transfer of the proceeds of these games from players to the owners. This is greed run amok, not unlike the greed that led to the global meltdown in 2007-2008. The NFL owners locked out the players, but the players' association was able to draw connections to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and helped themselves get past the general meme that billionaires and millionaires were duking it out over who got more of the lucrative NFL pie. The players especially tied themselves to the thousands of service industry workers who made they livings at the stadiums, bars, restaurants, and other work associated with game day. By emphasizing that the players were working stiffs, albeit well-paid ones for very short average careers, as opposed to those who own the teams and suck local communities dry in stadium deals and exploit workers across the board, the players gained the upper hand in negotiations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ollb on May 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Various aspects of various sports, domestic and international, from a left-liberal perspective. Says many things that need to be said about the right-wing ownership and management of pro and "amateur" (e.g. the NCAA) sports. Point of praise: a great many endnotes, but they consist entirely of source references. That's the way it ought to be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. L LaRegina on February 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Journalist Dave Zirin's 2013 book GAME OVER: HOW POLITICS HAS TURNED THE SPORTS WORLD UPSIDE DOWN documents the current harsh realities of both America and the world colliding with the escapist land of sports. To a degree not seen since the 1960s, victims of injustice today are fighting back. And just as the raised fists of John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics took the games off script and into reality, GAME OVER argues actions such as the Phoenix Suns basketball team taking the court in "Los Suns" uniforms in response to anti-Latino law in Arizona show athletes are once again taking a stand for the greater good.

In GAME OVER the wide world of sports is now the wild world of sports. Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of change, the thrill of Occupy and the agony of Penn State, the human drama of athletic competition becomes a sideshow as the 99% crashes the gates of sporting events like no time since Curt Flood and Muhammad Ali put their careers on the line over principle, according to this book.

Read GAME OVER.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian Maitland on January 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Some of these essays on the merging of sports and politics in the current age are terrific. Others are so far off base they're laughable.

Of the good Zirin's take on the soccer ultras (hooligans) of Egypt being involved in the Arab Spring is both accurate reporting and something the lamestream media completely missed. I also enjoyed his look at the Sandusky scandal at Penn State.

Where he totally lost me was on commenting about the World Cup Finals and Olympics. Sure the money could be better spent elsewhere, and both FIFA and the IOC are corrupt as anything but he got Vancouver 2010 completely wrong. Quoting a single Customs officer complaining about $5,000 hockey tickets is just hearsay. As someone who got all sorts of men's hockey tickets in the lottery (including both semi-finals) as well as through the official Games site at cost during the Olympics (for even a quarter-final) it was very easy to get tickets for games NOT involving Canada. Even so we saw Canada play three times through those tix we scored through the lottery system. You just need to get EVERYONE you know to apply as that's something i learned back in the time of soccer's 1994 USA World Cup Finals. We even managed after the Games started to get tickets to speed skating, short track speed skating and curling all at cost through the official site.

He also fails to mention that under California state law, no public money can be used to build any pro sports stadiums, ballparks or arenas. When he devotes a huge chunk of the book to the ridiculous public spending on these sports playgrounds, he forgets to mention that at all when referring to the situation he focus on in the state.
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