Game Over

How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down

From the bestselling author of What’s My Name, Fool? and the commentator that Robert Lipsyte calls “the smartest and gutsiest sportswriter in America,” a razor-sharp analysis of how sports and politics mix today

“You have to read David Zirin to believe him, and if you read him, you will believe him.” —Jack McCallum, senior writer, Sports Illustrated

Sportscaster Howard Cosell dubbed it “rule number one of the jockocracy”: sports and politics just don’t mix. But in Game Over, celebrated alt-sportswriter Dave Zirin proves once and for all that politics has breached the modern sports arena with a vengeance. From the NFL lockout and the role of soccer in the Arab Spring to the Penn State sexual abuse scandals and Tim Tebow’s on-field genuflections, this timely and hard-hitting book from the “conscience of American sportswriting” (The Washington Post) reveals how our most important debates about class, race, religion, sex, and the raw quest for political power are played out both on and off the field.

Game Over offers new insights and analysis of headline-grabbing sports controversies, exploring the shady side of the NCAA, the explosive 2011 MLB All-Star Game, and why the Dodgers crashed and burned. It covers the fascinating struggles of gay and lesbian athletes to gain acceptance, female athletes to be more than sex symbols, and athletes everywhere to assert their collective bargaining rights as union members. Zirin also illustrates the ways in which athletes are once again using their exalted platforms to speak out and reclaim sports from the corporate interests that have taken it hostage. In Game Over, he cheers the victories but also reflects on how far we have yet to go. Combining brilliant set pieces with a sobering overview of today’s sports scene in Zirin’s take-no-prisoners style, Game Over is a must-read for anyone, sports fan or not, interested in understanding how sports reflect and shape society—and why the stakes have never been higher.


“A damning indictment of all that is corrupting sports and a song of praise for athletes standing up for human rights and decency.”
Kirkus Reviews
“In his enlightening essay collection, Nation columnist and author Zirin (Welcome to the Terrordome) employs common sense and research to show that politics and sports are entangled, whether it’s members of the Green Bay Packers supporting the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin’s public workers or the Phoenix Suns donning ‘Los Suns’ uniforms to protest Arizona’s controversial, immigrant-obsessed law, SB 1070. . . . Zirin steadfastly demonstrates how the games we watch are not just an escape from the everyday: they are a reflection that provides a perfect opportunity for protest and change.”
Publishers Weekly

News and Reviews

Bill Moyers Journal

Bill Moyers interviews Dave Zirin about Game Over and the collision of politics and sports on Bill Moyers Journal

The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe reviews Game Over

Books by Dave Zirin

The Kaepernick Effect
Taking a Knee, Changing the World

Dave Zirin

Bad Sports
How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love

Dave Zirin

A People’s History of Sports in the United States
250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play

Dave Zirin

Goodreads Reviews