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Entries tagged "sports"
August 29, 2012 · By Matias Ramos
A longstanding gender barrier recently cracked in the heart of the Old South. Augusta National Golf Club accepted two women — former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and businesswoman Darla Moore — as its first female members. This change comes years after Augusta's policy of refusing to admit women as members became part of the national debate, thanks to the work of IPS associate fellow Martha Burk and the National Council of Women’s Organizations. Burk is also a frequent contributor to our OtherWords editorial service.
After the news broke, Martha published an op-ed on CNN.com in which she reflected on the 2003 protests that led to this moment, and the challenges ahead for the women’s movement:
Confined to a muddy field far from the gates, the protest we staged in 2003 was widely reported as a failure. But time and persistence have proved that version wrong.
Had the women's groups backed down then, we wouldn't be celebrating the admission of Rice and Moore now. Had we not changed the conversation about sex discrimination and kept it front and center every year at tournament time -- while behind the scenes facilitating $80 million in legal settlements on behalf of women working at companies whose CEOs were club members -- the issue would have quietly died away. Maybe for another century.
While no one save the club leadership is privy to the decision-making, it's long past due, and the exact process doesn't matter. What does matter is that the women's movement once again succeeded. And of course after enduring taunts, insults, and even death threats, which have never stopped over the past 10 years, my personal feelings are tremendous relief and vindication. But that's tempered with concern.
Burk’s victory shows that some campaigns take a long time to come to fruition. We might yet not be ready to claim victory over polluting gold-diggers in El Salvador or tax-dodging CEOs in the United States for many years, but we're going to keep on fighting.
July 29, 2010 · By Jennifer Doak
"I'd like to thank Dan Snyder for inspiring this book," Dave Zirin began. His DC audience, apparently dotted with disgruntled Skins fans, loudly protested this inauspicious introduction. Snyder, I later learned, was just one of many team owners who treat "their fanbase like a baby treats a diaper." They've taken billions in taxpayer money, only to betray those same people, their teams' fans, by jacking up prices and funneling cash into private projects.
Zirin, who blogs at The Edge of Sports, is the sports writer for The Nation. He was at Busboys and Poets last night, promoting his new book Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Game We Love.
Snyder, Ken Kendrick, the Dolan family, Dick DeVos, and the late George Steinbrenner all topped the list of Zirin's worst team owners. Kendrick, who owns the Arizona Diamondbacks, not only backs his state's absurd immigration law but has funneled cash – using the Diamondbacks arena, a public venue – to Republican candidates he supports. The Dolans, who own the Knicks (and Cablevision) boast high profits as they drive their once-respectable name into the ground. DeVos uses his billions to fund the Dominionists, a radical right-wing group that wants to put homosexuals and "women who seek abortions" into prison. And George Steinbrenner, who Zirin calls the bridge between the old and new ways of running sports teams, began this era (helped along by his chum Rudy Giuliani), during which $30 billion was spent on public stadiums in the last 30 years.
All across the country, cities desperately in need of public funds instead capitulated to sports team owners – Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Detroit, instead of job-growth programs or infrastructure improvements, got new parks in the last 10 years, funded by taxpayers. In exchange, these cities get a few hundred low-paying, non-union jobs. Of course, if Detroiters cough up large sums of money to go to Tigers games in Comerica Park, they can drown their sorrows in overpriced beer.
I'm an avid college and pro sports fan myself. One who, at the tender age of 13, was betrayed by Whalers owner Pete Karmanos as he ruthlessly broke his promise to keep the team in Hartford (never mind that it was due to low ticket sales), instead moving them to the hockey-fan desert of North Carolina. Despite events like this, it's hard to separate the wrongdoings of team owners from the emotional ties fans have to the teams. But even I managed to set aside my blind fanaticism and think, yeah, this is a problem.
It's not like we can't do something about it – we even have a model to follow. The best sports owner, according to Zirin, is Green Bay, WI, where everyone in the city is a shareholder of the Packers. Zirin later outlines a "Fans' Bill of Rights" – tickets should be affordable for the working class; the game blackout deal with cable companies should end; and mass-produced, watery beer should cost less than $8.
In Bad Sports, Zirin evokes George Costanza, Keyser Söze, and Homer Simpson to drive his points home. But, at the risk of sounding like the guy from "Reading Rainbow," you don't have to take my word for it.