First Year Read Programs
Racism/Racial Justice

Dave Zirin writes and speaks about the politics of sports. UTNE Reader named him one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World," and Press Action has twice named him Sportswriter of the Year. Robert Lipsyte says he is "the best sportswriter in the United States."

Zirin writes about sports for The Nation magazine and is host of XM satellite’s popular weekly show, Edge of Sports Radio. He is a columnist for SLAM magazine and The Progressive.

His latest book is the acclaimed Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down (The New Press) which Christine Brennan of USA Today called "the perfect book for our time in sports."

Zirin is also author of Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games We Love (Scribner). Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein called Bad Sports, "an original and scathing look at how America works."

Zirin's A People's History of Sports in the United States, is part of Howard Zinn's People's History series for the New Press. This book is a rollicking, rebellious, myth-busting history of sports in America that puts politics in the ring with pop culture. The book forms the basis of a documentary co-written and narrated by Zirin called Not Just A Game: Power, Politics and American Sports, produced by the Media Education Foundation.

In addition, Zirin is the co-author of the NAACP Image Award nominated The John Carlos Story and author of Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports (Haymarket Books), with a foreword by the immortal Chuck D. Sports Illustrated wrote that Terrordome is "a provocative, sometimes chilling, look at sports and society right now."

His first book What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States (Haymarket Books) has entered its third printing.

Zirin has brought his blend of sports and politics to multiple television programs including ESPN's Outside the Lines, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, ESPN Classic, MSNBC's Morning Joe, CNN, MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, Comcast Sports Network's Washington Post Live, C-SPAN's BookTV, and Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.

He has also been on numerous national radio programs including National Public Radio's Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered.

Zirin has debated FOX Sports president Ed Goren on college football's Bowl Championship Series for National Public Radio, Bridgestone Firestone President Dan Adomitis in the pages of the LA Times on whether his company should be the "official tire of the Super Bowl" while in court for using child labor in Liberia, and the issue of steroids in sports with Jose Canseco and John Rocker.

His writing has also appeared in Vibe Magazine, the LA Times, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, New York Newsday, the Baltimore Sun, the  The Pittsburgh Courier, The Source, and numerous other publications.



"Zirin, who has emerged as the most important progressive voice in American sport, challenges teachers, students, athletes and sports fans not to deny the existence of politics in sport, but instead, in the tradition of Tommie Smith and Billie Jean King, to take personal risks to ensure that sport becomes a realm for the promotion of egalitarian and peaceful human values and relations."  

— Michael A. Messner, University of Southern California, author of It's All for the Kids: Gender, Families and Youth Sports


"In sportswriting, attitude is easy. But Zirin's also got razor smarts, rapier wit, and, most of all, a rebel's large'll never see sports the same way again."  

— Jeff Chang, author, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation,


"Dave Zirin is one of our best critics of sport culture and his excellent documentary provides illuminating images of sports and politics, including both how sports is complicit with U.S. nationalism and militarism, and how sports is a terrain of struggle over issues such as race, gender, and sexuality."

— Douglas Kellner, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Media Spectacle


"Through his writings Zirin doesn’t let us forget…how racism remains entrenched in professional sports and how nationalism and militarism are tightly woven into the fabric of most professional U.S. sports leagues. (Zirin) is the rare sportswriter who examines these connections.”  

— Press Action Awards, honoring Zirin as Sportscaster of the Year 2006 and 2005


"David Zirin is one of the best young sportswriters in the country today. Zirin never backs off on raising a larger perspective about the human and social implications of sport as we practice it in this country. He does this with considerable intelligence and deft writing skills. I know of no other commentator on the world of sport today who effectively puts it all together the way Zirin does."

— David Meggyesy; Western Regional Director NFL players Association


"Dave Zirin is that rare thing - a writer who combines a passion for sport, deep knowledge of its history and a fearlessly radical critique of the role the rich and powerful play in it. This is cutting-edge analysis delivered with wit and compassion."

— Mike Marqusee; Author Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties


"Dave Zirin bridges the gap between social issues and pop culture with a smooth blend of radical passion and street smart prose. He's the thinking man's sports fan and the sports fan's thinking man."

— Mickey Z. Kickboxer, Yankee fan, and author of four books, including The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda

“I just wanted to let you know that Dave's talk was everything. It was engaging, informative, and relevant. It was easily the best keynote I've heard at any conference in five years and the comments from our attendees were all very enthusiastic. My department chair wants to bring him back.”
— Carol Bunch-Davis, Professor, Texas A & M University at Galveston

Topics include:

  • Not Just A Game: Power, Politics and American Sports
  • Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports
  • A People’s History of Sports in the United States
  • What’s My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States