Book Review: What’s My Name, Fool? (2005)

Dave Zirin’s What’s My Name, Fool? explores the mixture of two of America’s favorite pastimes — politics and sports — from the left side of the political spectrum.

Zirin takes insightful looks at Muhammad Alie, the man who exemplifies athletes speaking out, and one of the most memorable of all political statements in sports, John Carlos and Tommy Smith’s raised, gloved fists at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Yet What’s My Name, Fool? does not focus only on public political acts by sports figures. It explores the full spectrum of sports from a quintessential American left standpoint. Zirin looks at sports unions, racism and sexism, gay-bashing and issues such as the steroid “hysteria” in professional sports.

While you may not agree with Zirin, his prose is uninhibited and unabashed. He never leaves any doubt where he stands and his perspective is one all too rarely heard in modern sports writing. In terms of both viewpoint and analysis, this book is to sports journalism what Air America Radio is to the broadcast spectrum. It looks at a multi-billion dollar industry in a societal and political context, demonstrating that in American society sports have become more than just a game.

If I had a dollar for everything that’s wrong with sports, Bill Gates would be my butler.

Dave Zirin, What’s My Name, Fool?

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