Books | Sports

August 24, 2010

Taking Back the Playing Field

When owners play hardball, Dave Zirin has some ideas for fans to fight back.

Michael Gluckstadt

When an owner holds a sports franchise hostage, fans feel powerless in their plight. Should they acquiesce and give much-needed public money to fund a privately held and increasingly corporatized team and stadium? Or should they stand their ground and risk losing a part of their city's identity to some floozy town with the coffers and shamelessness to steal their beloved team?

It's a no-win situation, and that's because the owners and their big-money peers are controlling the frame of the debate. But, according to firebrand and progressive sportswriter Dave Zirin, this doesn't have to be the case. "If owners want to play hardball, we have to stop playing patty cake," Zirin tells Gelf. "If they want public money, then we need to demand partial public ownership." There are steps fans can take, like adopting the Green Bay public model of ownership, to ensure that others aren't the ones who get to dictate the terms; we are.

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Article by Michael Gluckstadt

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