Checking in With Dave Zirin: Kaepernick, COVID and the MLB Playoffs

Dave: Hey Ron.

Ron: Hi Dave. Long time no see.

Dave: Long time no see. Thanks for doing this. I appreciate it.

Ron: When Jeffrey (St Clair) suggested I do this interview, I was reminded of CounterPunch's early days on the web and your columns from that small paper in Maryland were reprinted in CounterPunch. I was hooked. After all,, it had been a few decades since any Leftist had written about sports in the USA.In a few sentences, how would you describe your trajectory since then?

Dave: Yeah, that was a huge break for me to get read by a larger audience outside of St. Mary's County. I'll always owe a debt to Mr. St Clair, no doubt.

Ron:: And that other guy. Mr. Cockburn....So that was my lead-in, I guess. How would you describe your trajectory since then?

Dave:: If it wasn't for CounterPunch, first and foremost, my writings wouldn't have got out to the broader Left and that's where my readership really started, with the broader Left; with a lot of closeted Lefty sports fans and a lot of Lefties who hated sports but started to see its value in terms of the struggle of athletes, which I tried to write about a lot in those early days. Since then I've stayed on the same beat at the intersection of sports and politics and focusing definitely on Left-wing movements and radicalism and resistance politics that have emerged in sports and I think more of the mainstream's sports media has moved in that direction, certainly over the last ten years as more athletes have been outspoken and, in a lot of respects, that makes me a smaller fish in a bigger pond but I like that there is a lot more writing, a lot more research, a lot more documentaries that deal with this area of work that, you know for a long time was very lonely to write about.

Ron: Yeah, it's very rare anymore that I hear or read that politics doesn't belong in sports.

Dave: Yeah. Unless you're watching the absolute dregs of right-wing media. Something that used to be commonsense in mainstream sports writing has been eschewed.

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Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.