Hosted By Dave Zirin - Sports Editor at the Nation
As Seen On ESPN, CNN, FS1, NBC

Bob Lipsyte on Writing Black Superman’s Obit & Kavitha Davidson


Only one man who could write the New York Times obituary of Muhammad Ali. Bob Lipsyte covered Ali for 52 years and continues our special week of coverage for The Champ. Then, writer and commentator Kavitha Davidson speaks about Ali’s cultural impact and examines the possible link between two degenerative brain diseases: Parkinson’s, which plagued Ali, and CTE, which is detected in the brains of more and more football players. Our closing song today is by Johnny Wakelin & The Kinshasa Band, “Black Superman, Muhammad Ali.”

Lipsyte: Muhammad Ali Dies at 74: Titan of Boxing and the 20th Century
Lipsyte articles in the Times:
Kavitha Davidson:
Kavitha Davidson articles in Bloomberg View:
Muhammad Ali, Black Superman:

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Chuck D Honors Ali: “He Grabbed the Mic and He Rhymed.”


The world shook last week as the greatest sports figure of the 20th Century, Muhammad Ali, passed away. Today begins a week of special podcasts devoted to The Champ, which will end with a trip to Louisville for Ali’s memorial. We originally booked today’s guest, Chuck D, to talk about his new supergroup ‘Prophets of Rage,’ which also features B-Real from Cypress Hill and members of Rage Against The Machine. Today, Chuck talks about this rebellious musical project, their summer tour that starts July 19th in Cleveland, and offers his insights into Ali’s indelible legacy. Then, ‘Choice Words’ from Dave’s latest column for The Nation.

Be sure to subscribe to the show so you don’t miss any of this week’s special Ali programming. Search for Edge of Sports on on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music or your podcast app of choice. For more information, visit

Prophets of Rage: | |
Chuck D:
Zirin: ‘I Just Wanted to Be Free’: The Radical Reverberations of Muhammad Ali

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Music: Public Enemy (Terrorbeat, Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos, Welcome to the Terrordome) | Miles Davis (Ali)

Roller Derby Star Fifi Nomenon on Being Trans in Texas


Fifi Nomenon (say the name quickly) is a star of the Texas Rollergirls and Team USA Roller Derby, and is one of the most prominent trans athletes in the United States. We break down roller derby, why it has proven to be more hospitable to trans athletes than other sports, and what it’s like to be trans in Texas - a place where scapegoating has run rampant. In addition to Fifi, I have some Choice Words about anti-trans bigotry and the 2017 Super Bowl. Finally my Just Stand Up award goes to an icon of my sports-loving youth, NFL Hall-of-Famer Harry Carson, and his efforts to ban tackle football for kids.

Fifi Nomenon: |
Texas Rollergirls | Team USA Roller Derby
Zirin: Fight Transphobia and Move the Damn 2017 Super Bowl | This NFL Hall of Fame Member Won’t Let His Grandson Play Football

Edge of Sports website | | | email us:

Music: LL Cool J “Phenomenon” | Shovels & Rope "Mary Ann & One Eyed Dan”  | No7ice “It’s Too Late”

Take us show with you on 📱iTunes  👽Stitcher 👽Google Play Music or your podcast app of choice.

The Washington Slurs: Clap Back on WaPo Poll with Jacqueline Keeler

The Washington Post caused a furor when they released a new poll, claiming that 90% of Native Americans are not offended by the home football team’s controversial name. We read this article with great interest and came away with more questions than answers. Today, we offer the Post, and our listeners, a moral reality check with Jacqueline Keeler, Navajo/Yankton Dakota Sioux writer and co-founder of the group ’Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry.’ Then, Dave reads a response from Washington Post polling manager Scott Clement, and finally, Dave updates his open letter to Dan Snyder, originally published in Grantland.

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The Olympics and the Battle for Rio’s Future

This is our first 2016 Olympics edition of the Edge of Sports podcast, and it is a news making edition of the show. I am just back from Rio de Janeiro snd the show reflects this in rather dramatic fashion. I sat down face to face with the mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes for a no holds barred discussion about the Olympics, displacement, and corruption and whether Rio is ready to host the games. THEN I sit down with Rio-based activist Theresa Williamson from Catalytic Communities and Theresa does a point-by-point rebuttal to Mayor Paes. Then I have some Choice Words about the Zika virus and the removal of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. And lastly the Just Stand Up award to the independent journalists of

Eduardo Paes: |
Theresa Williamson:
Rio On Watch: |
Catalytic Communities: |
Column: Don’t Move the Olympics, Protest Them
See more videos from Dave in Brazil:

Music by Onias Comenda ‘Berimbau’
Ocupa Carnaval ‘Bandeira Branca,’ ’Mascara Negra’
Beat Box - Dj Perera 2016

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Cover photo: Tasso Marcelo (AFP)

Roger Waters and The Occupation of the American Mind

This week, an extensive interview with Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters on Israel, Palestine, US politics, and the power of music. We also discuss the role of sports in these ongoing discussions. The impetus for this interview was a new documentary that Waters narrates called The Occupation of the American Mind" put out by the Media Education Foundation.  I also have some choice words about traveling to Rio - where I will be when you are listening to this pod - to look at the pre-Olympic planning. Will report back! Lastly, our Just Stand Up Award goes to the resistors on the ground in Rio, still standing up for working people in the face of the Olympics.

The Occupation of the American Mind: | |

Roger Waters: | |

Music by Pink Floyd: ‘Time,’ ‘Another Brick in The Wall,’ ’Money,’ ‘Us and Them’ & Ocupa Carnaval  ‘Cachaça’

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Michael Sam: The first openly gay man in the NFL looks back, plans ahead

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, tells his fascinating story to Dave Zirin, on-stage at University of Colorado Denver. Despite a great college career at Mizzou and slot in the 2014 draft, Sam hasn’t found a home in the NFL. Today on Edge of Sports, Michael Sam weighs the undeniable good he has done for society with honest reflections on what could have been different. Then, our ‘Just Stand Up’ award goes to Julie DiCaro,who, along with fellow journalist Sarah Spain, helped to call out sexist internet trolls with the powerful video ‘More Than Mean’ shot by the ‘Just Not Sports Podcast.’ We salute you.

Our host, the intrepid DZ, is on the road this week in BRAZIL! To the Cariocas, please take care of our boy, and tweet Dave or friend of the show Zach Zill with interesting leads

Special thanks to Avery Balano & Sean Lawton. Music by  Aika

Michael Sam: 

Julie DiCaro:


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Despite heavy hearts due to the passing of Prince, we are honored to welcome one of the most prominent journalists of our time, co-founder of The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald. We speak to Greenwald primarily about the political crisis roiling Brazil and the effect it could have on the 2016 Summer Olympics… as well as the effect the Olympics could have on this political crisis. Greenwald is based in Rio and his recent writings on this subject are vital for anyone seeking to understand what is happening, with the Games less than 100 days away. Dave also pays a heartfelt tribute to Prince, reading a column about what it meant to go to college in the Twin Cities, the place Prince ruled. And sure enough, our ‘Just Stand Up’ award is to his Purple Highness for turning the 2007 Super Bowl on its head.

Column: Good Night, Sweet Prince: The death of the musical legend has me reeling, and remembering vividly what it was like the one time I was in his presence. | | | email us:

Music by Prince and Morris Day & The Time. This episode is dedicated to the memory of Prince Rogers Nelson. We love you, and we we will never forget you nor your contribution to the world.

Student Athletes vs. Nike Sweatshops: Isabelle Teare of Georgetown Sailing & W. Kamau Bell of ‘United Shades of America’


This week, a show for all the student-athletes, student-activists, and the advocates like us who cheer them on. Isabelle Teare is a member of the Georgetown University Sailing Team. She’s also a leader in ‘Athletes and Advocates for Workers,’ a movement that’s pressured Georgetown’s administration and athletic department to confront Nike sweatshop abuses. Despite the school’s long and entwined relationship with Nike, Teare and her cohort are winning. Then, comedian W. Kamau Bell has a new CNN program, ‘United Shades of America,’ debuting Sunday at 10 Eastern. We will find out why he is interviewing Klansmen on deserted country roads and what the mission is of this altogether original show. Then, a column read about Steph Curry’s small- but significant- stand against anti-LGBT legislation in North Carolina. Finally, our ‘Just Stand Up’ award comes in defense of Cardale Jones, a man who deserves nothing but a larger platform for his critical views of big time college football. We thank our intern Dustin Foote for all his dedicated work over the last few months. This episode is dedicated to the memory of Prince Rogers Nelson. We will have a full tribute to Prince on next week’s show.

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Robert Lipsyte Suffers No Fools, Takes No Prisoners

Today’s guest hold the informal title of “greatest living sportswriter”, Robert Lipsyte. Lipsyte distinguished himself with multiple stints at the New York Times, covering Muhammad Ali when he was still known as Cassius Clay. He is also noted for his recent tenure as an unflinching Ombudsman at ESPN. The author of celebrated books such as “SportsWorld: An American Dreamland” and his memoir “An Accidental Sportswriter,” Lipsyte offers Dave Zirin unvarnished opinions on the likes of Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Bill Simmons and ‘Grantland,’ Derek Jeter and ‘The Player’s Tribune,’ the delays besetting ESPN’s ‘The Undefeated,’ Donald Trump, and his most indelible memory in sports: helping a Nigerian boxer named Dick Tiger mail his medal back to the Queen of England in protest.

“Superbowling” by Robert Lipsyte, New York Times (January 18, 1969)
Robert Lipsyte New York Times archive
Robert Lipsyte website
Robert Lipsyte in The Nation
Robert Lipsyte’s current column, ‘Codger’…psyte/ | | | email

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