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The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America Hardcover – September 24, 2013


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The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America + The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football + League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 125001171X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250011718
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

College and professional football generates billions of dollars annually in revenue. Easterbrook, the author of ESPN’s popular column Tuesday Morning Quarterback, looks beyond the dollar signs, examining many of the sport’s darker issues. Among them: the public dollars used to finance the stadiums used by NFL teams when, simultaneously, the same local governments reduce money allocated to education, public infrastructure, and aid to the needy. The book opens with a look at Virginia Tech football, where the graduation rates are high and players learn through the positive reinforcement of head coach Frank Beamer and his staff. Easterbrook then moves to the rest of college football, which mostly exploits the players for the enrichment of the university, the athletic administrators, and the coaching staffs. Another chapter looks at the long-term financial health of NFL players; one organization reports 70 percent of NFL players declare bankruptcy within 10 years of retirement. Despite the wealth of negative content here, Easterbrook still professes to enjoy the game and offers a series of reforms for football at all levels. A valuable analysis that will significantly alter the ways that readers view football. --Wes Lukowsky

Review

Praise for The King of Sports

 

"The King of Sports is a fantastic book" -- Chuck Todd

“Read this book with a highlighter in hand.  It is the most significant book you will ever read on football." –Brian Kenny, former anchor, SportsCenter

 

"I've long admired Gregg Easterbrook's writing. Now I admire his conscience. The King of Sports is an important book for football America.'' --Peter King, senior writer, Sports Illustrated

 

“The King of Sports provides a vivid, authoritative, insightful and above all provocative account of the role of football in American life." --Michael Mandelbaum, author of The Meaning of Sports

 

“The King of Sports is a must-read for all of us who love the game of football.”  --Aaron Schatz, editor-in-chief, Football Outsiders.com

"[Easterbrook] delivers hits more devastating than the most ferocious, head-hunting linebacker…. [he] does it again, again and again in The King of Sports, a startling and disturbing new book that takes aim at hypocrisy in the National Football League and big money college football." –Buffalo News


“Provocative and thoughtful.” –Tampa Bay Times


“College and professional football generates billions of dollars annually in revenue. Easterbrook, the author of ESPN’s popular column Tuesday Morning Quarterback, looks beyond the dollar signs, examining many of the sport’s darker issues… A valuable analysis that will significantly alter the ways that readers view football.” --Booklist

 

“Easterbrook presents muchto consider and discuss in his diagnosis and treatment plan, which should be of interest to a broad audience.” –Library Journal, starred review

 

“No matter how you feel about football's issues, The King of Sports offers plenty to think about. It's a blitz of sports and cultural perspective well worth any fan's time.” –Creative Loafing Charlotte

Praise for Tuesday Morning Quarterback:
“One of the Web’s surprise cult hits.” — The New York Times

“Hilarious entertainment . . . Tuesday Morning Quarterback has pretty much locked up the genre of humorous football poetry.” — National Public Radio, “All Things Considered”

"Trenchant analysis, wrenching case studies, Utopian recommendations." -- Kirkus Reviews

 


More About the Author

I was born in Buffalo, New York, to parents who were naturalized Canadians. I'm a graduate of Colorado College and a lover of the Rocky Mountains region throughout North America. Because my wife was until recently as U.S. foreign service officer, I've lived in countries including Pakistan and Belgium. I wish there was still a little family-owned patisserie in walking distance from my house like there was in Brussels. My character flaw is that I watch too much football.

Customer Reviews

Easy to read and very informative.
John Senger
Instead, there was too much anecdotal type of information.
Granite
Every football fan needs to read this book.
Donald Bley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jason G on August 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The King of Sports, Football's Impact on America is an attempt to point out the massive amounts of corruption and hypocrisy that daily receive a pass, because of America's obsession with football, at all levels of the game. This work investigates and describes, in heavy detail, the health and safety, financial malfeasance and corruption of mission that are undergone at the high school, college and professional level by America's favorite sport. The reader is frankly, overwhelmed with the data and description, in at times rambling and example heavy book.

The author, Gregg Easterbrook, who has written for years for publications like The Atlantic and ESPN.com is certainly a fan of the game, and loves how athletics, properly used, are tools for character development, self discipline, exposing especially the young to a wider world, and for being one of the few outlets commonly accepted today that brings a real sense of civic cohesion. He has been a youth coach and active participate in the college recruiting process as well. So he does have not only the observational skills of a journalist, but the ability to understand how the game works on the inside.

I am largely sympathetic with Easterbrook's main points: football has become an unhealthy obsession in the nation, and we are taking massive risks with health and safety of youth, twisting educational opportunities into corrupt incentives for school pride and aggrandizement and abusing civic pride in professional sports into an excuse to pump an increasingly corrupt organization like the NFL. His most convicting comments, again largely in agreement with his main points, are from Super Bowl winning coach, Tong Dungy and a Virginia Tech player.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Gregg Easterbrook wants to know why there is such a deep relationship between the American public and football, from high school, to college (with three times' greater attendance than pro football) and NFL. We become warriors for our teams on game day and we dissect the game throughout the rest of the week. He comes up with several reasons. We are aggressive like football; football is a recluse, a man's club, in a country where women are gaining more and more power in education in business. We are industrial and work for a boss the way the players work for their coach so we relate to the game on that analogous level. We are even so addicted to the sport that we subsidize football stadiums for owners who take all the money for themselves and politicians, the public do nothing. We allow the cozy relationship between the NFL and the TV companies to flourish while we pay for the tab in ways that are outrageous, even feudal, according to Easterbrook.

All the while we exploit our college athletes. Only about half graduate with a college degree. Only one in a hundred from college go to NFL. Five years after playing NFL, most players are broke. They don't get guaranteed contracts. Repetitive head injuries lead to brain damage, suicidal depression, ALS disease and a host of other disorders.

Additionally, college and NFL players, huge with inflated weight increases from a generation ago, influence the American youth to "bulk up," which leads to obesity. And then there are the pain killers and PEDs, which are sought out by our youth, many of whom are trying to be recruited as young as twelve years old.

This sick symbiotic relationship between a multi-billion-dollar industry and the viewing addicts is held under a microscope in writing that is accessible, fair-minded, well researched and moves along at a brisk pace in spite of all the valuable statistics Easterbrook relies on to support his points. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Galloping Ghost on February 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The insider's look at the Va Tech football program and Frank Beamer were the strength of this book. Otherwise, the author identifies worthy targets (The NFL and its owners ripping off the taxpayer, college athletics that is nearly corrupt to its core) but never moves too far beyond emotional sanctimonious ranting. The co-opting of the TV sports media by the leagues and teams they cover is not given enough consideration- why does the NFL need its own TV network when the one in central Connecticut is a 365-day year marketing extension of the league?
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TMStyles VINE VOICE on August 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Greg Easterbrook has written an expose of football in America that will not likely earn him many invitations to Pro Team sky boxes. In "The King Of Sports", subtitled Football's Impact On America, Easterbrook examines the role of football, professional, collegiate, and high school in America today and details historically how things got this way. It is a book heavy on the negative because there are a lot of negatives. To his credit, he does delineate his suggestions to overhaul the system and bring some semblance of safety and fairness to the modern sport.

Dedicated football fans and sports historians will find little new in this book beyond some of the amazing statistics Easterbrook has amassed to support his positions. Indeed, it reads as an amalgamation of ills and evils reflected in modern day football at all levels. But casual fans and outside observers may be shocked by these revelations that fall one after the other in "The King Of Sports". The avaricious team owners who use a clueless and willing Congress to further not only the direction of the game but also to secure tax-payer subsidies and outright "gifts" to build enormously expensive stadia wherein these same taxpayers can be charged onerous prices to attend while also subsidizing maintenance. The exploitation of college football players, particularly African Americans, while ignoring the true meaning of a college education. The devastating injuries and career ending concussions coupled with the fact that colleges provide no long term insurance support for injured players.
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