Not Just a Game: Power, Politics, & American Sports
Directed by Jeremy Earp
Written by Dave Zirin, Jeremy Earp and Chris Boulton Media Education Foundation
62 minutes. BETA/DVD/DVCAM; free online study guide, transcript, and other resources.
This compelling documentary, based on Dave Zirin’s bestselling book “The People’s History of Sports in the United States”, asserts that sports are a cultural and political force that reflects and shapes our national identity – even though “we’ve been told that sports and politics don’t mix.” As the film’s passionate narrator, Zirin juxtaposes historical and recent images from his wide experience as sports editor of The Nation magazine and commentator on sports in print, radio, television and online.
Ever since seeing a team mascot beat up a man in Arab clothing at a basketball game in Madison Square Garden just before the Gulf War in 1991, Zirin has built his career on “trying to understand that murky place where sports and politics collide,” he says. American sports have always shaped “cultural attitudes, norms and power arrangements.” Sports history reveals our struggles with these structures, which affect our “notions of who we are and how we see each other through gender, race, and class.”
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