On this special episode to address the unfolding resistance against racist police violence and white supremacy, Derek speaks with Michael Bennett, a Super Bowl champion and three-time pro-bowl defensive lineman in the National Football League. Michael is the author, with Dave Zirin, of the wonderful book Things That Make White People Uncomfortable with Haymarket Books and co-host of the podcast Mouthpeace with Michael Bennett and Pele Bennett (@Lemonadamedia).

Derek and Michael grapple with why the rebellions are occurring right now and what they say about racial injustice and white supremacy in US society. They also engage the question of whiteness and the role and responsibilities of white people in this moment. In the latter half of the episode, they connect structural racism in US society to elite sport and the ways in which athletes are relentlessly dehumanized by fans, team owners, and fantasy sports. Finally, Michael responds to recent comments by Drew Brees that have drawn the ire of players across the NFL.

As Michael explains on the show, it is the responsibility of white people to educate themselves about the history of racism in North America and how it structures our societies today.

Check out the latest episode of Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett. In this very special episode, Michael and Pele share their solidarity with George Floyd and others around the world protesting police violence. The episode is exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds long...as we know, this is the exact amount of time that George Floyd was pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020.

Some particularly valuable resources include the books below:

Angela Davis:

Are Prisons Obsolete?

Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture

Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement

The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues

Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor

Desmond Cole, The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power

Robyn Maynard, Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing

Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Mask

Alex S. Vitale, The End of Policing

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

For more on Michael's book Things That Make White People Uncomfortable and its brilliant treatment of the themes at the core of this podcast, check out Nathan's review in CounterPunch here.

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In this episode, which begins with a brief statement of solidarity with the uprising across the United States against white supremacy and racist state violence, Derek and Nathan break down the recent ESPN Michael Jordan documentary series The Last Dance with Louis Moore.  Louis Moore is Associate Professor of History at Grand Valley State University and author of I Fight for a Living: Boxing and the Battle for Black Manhood, 1880-1915 and We Will Win the Day: The Civil Rights Movement, the Black Athlete, and the Quest for Equality. and co-host, with Derrick White, of The Black Athlete Podcast.
 
The conversation examines the absences and presences in the series and what they say about the contemporary landscape of the NBA and athlete activism, with a particular focus on Craig Hodges, Harvey Gantt, Jordan's bullying, Scottie Pippen, Nike, and the unfolding rebellions against the murder of Black Americans by police.
 
You can find Joel Anderson's fine piece in Slate on the series here. You can find Nike's most recent "woke" ad here. You can find Louis Moore on Twitter, where you absolutely need to follow him @loumoore12.

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In this episode, Derek and Nathan are joined by Kathleen Bachynski, Assistant Professor of Public Health at Muhlenberg College and author of the essential 2019 book No Game for Boys to Play: The History of Youth Football and The Origins of a Public Health Crisis with UNC Press.

This is a crucial conversation that ranges from the health risks and ethics of US football itself to the conflicts of interest and questions of informed consent that haunt the bio-medical establishment's approach to grappling with this public health crisis. Kathleen also explains the risks of increased concussion awareness in the form of pseudoscientific products claiming to ameliorate the damage of head injury that have flooded the market. Finally, she offers the show an epidemiological analysis of whether a safe and humane return to elite sport is possible in the near future.
 
You can find Kathleen's brilliant article in The Atlantic here. Her co-authored piece in Lancet Neurology on pseudoscientific concussion products can be found here. Her co-authored piece on conflict of interest in concussion research is here. Give Dr. Bachynski a follow on Twitter @bachyns

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In this episode, Derek and Nathan speak with Courtney Szto about the ways in which race, multiculturalism, and gender in Canada shape the country's most prized sport. Courtney Szto is Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University. She is the senior editor of Hockey in Society, associate editor for Engaging Sports, and author of the forthcoming book with Rutgers University Press Changing on the Fly: Hockey Through the Voices of South Asian Canadians.
 
The three examine how a liberal discourse of multiculturalism disguises the persistent and varied forms of racial inequality that structure Canadian society in general and Canadian hockey in particular and talk about potential interventions, including the Policy Paper for Anti-Racism in Canadian Hockey co-authored by Courtney. They also delve into Courtney's personal connection to the game as player and fan and then get her takes on the landscape and future of women's hockey in the country.
 
You can find Courtney on Twitter @courtneyszto.

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In this episode, we get a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the world of US professional baseball. Nathan speaks with Dirk Hayhurst, a former Major League Baseball pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres, as well as a long-time Minor Leaguer. He is a former Sportsnet and TBS broadcaster and the author of four books: The Bullpen Gospels, Out of My League, Wild Pitches, and Bigger than the Game.  

Nathan and Dirk discuss the preposterously poor working conditions in Minor League Baseball, why players endure those conditions, and how the world of US baseball reproduces the logic of the American Dream. Dirk also explains how he lied his way into getting drafted and reveals a never-before-told story about how the rampant sexual harassment and misogyny of the locker room extends into broadcasting.

For more of Dirk's thoughts on the working conditions of Minor League Baseball, check out this Bleacher Report piece. For more of Dirk and Nathan in conversation, check out this piece they co-authored last year in Jacobin.

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In this episode, Derek and Nathan speak with Andrew Stoeten, Toronto Blue Jays (Major League Baseball) columnist at The Athletic and co-host of the Birds All Day podcast (and formerly of Drunk Jays Fans (DJF) and Blue Jays Nation).

Andrew explains how he got into baseball writing and then the three delve into the tensions of having personal investments in fandom while working in a profession connected to sport and examine the difficulties of having political inclinations when "Republicans buy sneakers too." In the latter half of the episode, they turn to a discussion of how advanced analytics and fantasy sports can have a dehumanizing impact on the way players are viewed and then consider the future of baseball in the pandemic.
 
You can find Andrew on Twitter @AndrewStoeten.

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In this episode, Nathan has the privilege of speaking with Elizabeth Williams, a center-forward for the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA and, until as recently as one unattended game during the beginning of the pandemic, Fenerbahçe in Turkey. She is sixth in WNBA history averaging 1.8 blocks per game and was the league's 2016 Most Improved Player. She is also a former Duke University Blue Devil. Most importantly, she is Secretary of the WNBPA.

Nathan and Elizabeth discuss the WNBA's new collective agreement and how it improves compensation and working conditions for players. They also deep-dive into the day-to-day life of women's professional basketball players both in the United States and overseas, and the physical and emotional impact of being in-season for nearly 350 days per year. They also touch on the differences between college and pro women's basketball, fandom in the WNBA and abroad, and the future of the game.

You can find Elizabeth on Twitter @E_Williams_1 and Instagram @e_williams_1!

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In this episode, Derek and Nathan are joined by Victoria Jackson and Andy Schwarz to discuss amateurism in the NCAA and recent name, image, likeness developments that have been getting a lot of ink.  Victoria Jackson is Clinical Assistant Professor of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University where her work focuses on the history of sport and a former NCAA 10,000 meter National Champion. Andy Schwarz is an antitrust economist and partner at the economic consulting firm OSKR where he consults on complex litigation matters in antitrust and sports. He is also the Co-Founder of the Professional Collegiate League and serves as its Chief Innovation Officer.

Victoria and Andy provide a comprehensive primer on amateurism in the NCAA. Victoria breaks down the history of amateurism and how it has produced a fundamentally racialized system of exploitation. Andy then explains recent legal developments that frame the current flexible usage of the term. They then explain how both the NCAA's April 29 press release on NIL and full working group recommendations fail to substantively improve the rights of college athletic workers. Andy explains how the PCL offers an alternative model for a more just version of college revenue sport. Finally, both offer their readings on what the future holds for college sport in the face of this pandemic and the shifting legal and competitive landscape.
 
You can find Victoria on Twitter @historyrunner and Andy @andyhre.

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In this unusual episode, Derek and Nathan talk with Maximillian Alvarez and Ryan Boyd, two leading commentators on higher education, work, and precarity about where sport and fandom fit in their lives. Maximillian Alvarez is a dual-Ph.D candidate in Comparative Literature and History at the University of Michigan. His work has appeared in countless venues, including The Nation, The New Republic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Boston Review, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, Dissent, and The Baffler. He is also the host of the incredible Working People podcast -- check this out, like...right now. Ryan Boyd is Assistant Professor of Writing at the University of Southern California. His work appears frequently in venues such as Los Angeles Review of Books and Public Books. He is a must-follow on Twitter, where he is an outspoken and much-needed critic of the adjunctification of higher education and its toll on the academic precariat.

 
This is a wide-ranging discussion of fandom, identity, and labor that, frankly, could have continued for hours longer than it did. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
 
You can find Ryan on Twitter @RyanABoyd and Maximillian @maximillian_alv. Ryan's most recent essay in Public Books on why college is worth fighting for is here. Maximillian's recent discussion in Dissent of why he left his conservative roots is here.
 

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@Derekcrim

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@EndofSportPod

In this episode, Derek and Nathan conduct their first *athlete interview.* They chat with Liz Knox, a retired professional hockey goaltender, CWHL Clarkson Cup champion, CIS Brodrick Trophy winner, CWHL all-star captain, and former co-chair of the CWHLPA, and, currently, one of nine players on the board of the PWHPA. The interview breaks down the complex world of women's hockey and frankly examines the harsh conditions therein. It also explores how Liz and her colleagues are reconceptualizing labour action in high-performance spectator sport.

You can find the Hockey in Society article by Courtney Szto here and Liz's comments on the CFL here.

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@Derekcrim

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