What's My Name, Fool?

-A +A

What's My Name, Fool?
Sports and Resistance in the United States
By Dave Zirin
Haymarket Books
304 pp., illus.
Paperback, $15.00
ISBN: 1-931859-20-5

“The most violent anti-busing demonstrations in America were not in Birmingham or Biloxi, but Boston. Every city has its stories of both racism and resistance. Yet Boston’s history is particularly nasty…

In an interview with the Boston Globe, [Barry] Bonds was asked whether he would consider finishing his career in Beantown. Bonds shook his head and said, ‘Boston is too racist for me; I couldn’t play there. That’s been going on ever since my dad was playing baseball. That’s not for me, brother.’When the reporter countered that the racial climate has changed in Boston, Bonds responded, ‘It ain’t changing.’�
-- Excerpted from Ch. 7: Sports, Racism, and the Modern Athlete

If you consider yourself a cerebral sports fan who enjoys examining the social issues surrounding a game as much as you do the contest itself, then you are likely to enjoy What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States. Its author, Dave Zirin, editor-in-chief of the Prince George’s Post, also pens a syndicated column called Edge of Sports, wherein he takes a weekly look at athletics from a politically-progressive perspective Zirin brings that same sensibility to this terrific tome, devoting considerable space to explain why spectator sports primary function is as an opiate of the masses. Then, he goes on to show how the Establishment comes down hard on any athlete who might dare question the status quo.

A mix of history lessons, academic essays, thought-provoking interviews and topical opinion pieces, What's My Name, Fool? is at its best when taking us deeper inside the minds of adored icons than we’re used to. His subjects include
some of the most controversial sports figures of the past 100 years from color line crossing Jackie Robinson to draft dodging Muhammad Ali to Toni Smith, the college basketball player who recently came under attack for turning her back on the flag during the playing of the national anthem.

Consider the revealing interview with 1968 Olympic medalist John Carlos, famous for raising a gloved black fist over his head (with teammate Tommie Smith). There, we learn that he found the inspiration for his act of defiance from Dr. Martin Luther King. “I was with Dr. King ten days before he died,� Carlos recalls. “He told me he was sent a bullet in the mail with his name on it. I remember looking in his eyes to see if there was any fear, and there was none. He had love and that in itself changed my life.�

The author’s point, in highlighting the so-called troublemakers, is that sports are “a profitable form of mass entertainment� designed “by the political and financial elite as a way to package their values and ideas.� And when anyone like Ali or Toni comes along who wants to do more than just box or bounce a ball, they are a serious threat to be dealt with before they awaken Boobus Americana out of its blissful state of total passivity. What's My Name, Fool? is a seminal contribution to the annals of sports journals with the potential to rouse a nation of couch potatoes before their brains turn totally to mush.

Also Check Out...

Atlas Monroe was named BEST Fried Chicken by Time Magazine's "Extra Crispy" at The National Fried Chicken Festival
Atlas Monroe Plant-Based Food
as Black communities are rising for justice, there is unprecedented recognition that anti-Blackness denies Black people their hu
Campaign Launched to Fight Anti-
Trump has already refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power.
America Must Prepare for a
Jason Holder urges cricket not to abandon Black Lives Matter message
Jason Holder urges cricket not to
Nigeria is extending curfews beyond the city of Lagos as anti-riot officers struggle to quell violence following protests
Nigeria protests: Millions placed
While Africa Amnesty Month is September, this year’s event took place one month late because of the coronavirus pandemic.
African Governments Encourage