Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation, joins Laura Flanders the day before the Super Bowl on Grit TV to discuss the role of progressives in sports and why the non-profit Green Bay Packers are a model team.
“Whether it’s racial justice, gender equality or war, there is hardly a topic that sports hasn’t touched and yet it’s all beneath the veneer of a pure, politics-free zone,” Flanders says as she introduces Zirin.
Zirin, in discussion of his new film, Not Just a Game, argues that disengagement from sports has been a largely missed opportunity for progressives to participate in a cultural platform that reaches millions of people. He uses examples of athletes like Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Jack Johnson and Martina Navratilova, who used their fame to push for social change.
One of this year’s Super Bowl teams, the Green Bay Packers, is the only NFL team without an owner. Instead, the team is a community-run non-profit owned by 112, 000 fans. “It’s such poetic justice that in a season where NFL owners have repeatedly and thuddingly threatened to lockout the season next year, that a team without an owner made the Super Bowl,” Zirin says.
This is reason for progressives to support the Packers, he says, a sentiment he echoes today after their Super Bowl win in "Fox Be Damned: Why a Packers Victory is the People’s Victory."