Sport Issues

International Olympic Committee bans Russia from 2018 Olympics in political provocation

By Josh Varlin, 6 December 2017

The move is intended to humiliate and isolate Russia, facilitating a long-term campaign by US imperialism to remove Russia as an obstacle to American hegemony.

Wisconsin construction worker falls to death while working on Milwaukee Bucks stadium

By Jessica Goldstein, 3 November 2017

Few details have been released about the tragic death last week of an electrician who fell from a ladder at the construction site of the new $524 million stadium.

As Trump presses owners to fire protesting athletes

NFL commissioner says football players should stand for national anthem

By Alan Gilman, 19 October 2017

In an angry tweet Wednesday, Trump complained that the NFL owners had decided not to force players to stand for the national anthem.

Kaepernick seeks arbitration over NFL blacklisting

By Alan Gilman, 16 October 2017

The star quarterback has been denied a chance to play in the league because of his role in sparking protests over racial inequality and police violence.

NFL commissioner announces plans against anthem protests

By Trévon Austin, 12 October 2017

NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell and a number of team owners are taking measures to punish football players who kneel during the anthem.

Trump and Pence orchestrate national anthem provocation at NFL game

By Alan Gilman, 10 October 2017

Pence and his wife left the Indianapolis stadium after about 20 members of the San Francisco 49ers “took a knee” during the national anthem.

Intensifying his attack on NFL players, Trump continues to incite the ultra-right

By Alan Gilman, 28 September 2017

Donald Trump has continued his campaign of threats against protesting professional football players and other athletes.

Behind Trump’s attack on the NFL football players

By Patrick Martin, 26 September 2017

Trump’s attacks on NFL players for “disrespecting” the national anthem are a calculated effort to whip up racism and militarism.

Former football star Aaron Hernandez had advanced brain damage

By Alan Gilman, 26 September 2017

Once a star for the New England Patriots, Hernandez committed suicide earlier this year while serving a life sentence for murder.

In defiance of Trump threats, US athletes protest police repression

By Patrick Martin, 25 September 2017

In a campaign speech in Alabama and multiple Twitter messages, the US president demanded total conformity from athletes with his policies of police repression and militarism.

The National Football League’s blacklisting of quarterback Colin Kaepernick

By Alan Gilman, 7 September 2017

Last season, while playing for the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in protest against police killings of African Americans in the US.

New York high school football player killed during military-style practice drill

By Warren Duzak, 14 August 2017

Joshua Mileto, a 16-year-old high school football player, was killed last week while participating in a group exercise designed for US Navy SEALs.

Brain damage found in 99 percent of deceased NFL players

By Alan Gilman, 28 July 2017

The study showed that repeated head injuries cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Australian cricket pay dispute escalates

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 July 2017

Cricketing administrators are seeking to boost their control over billions of dollars of broadcasting and online streaming revenue.

Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez found dead in his prison cell

By Alan Gilman, 21 April 2017

On the day that his former teammates were being honored at the White House, former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell.

New England Patriots players plan to boycott meeting with Trump

By Alan Gilman, 13 February 2017

Six players from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots have announced they will not attend a White House event to be held in their honor.

New accusations of Russian state-sponsored doping

By Andrea Peters, 13 December 2016

Authorities have responded to new allegations of doping to demand the indefinite exclusion of Russian athletes from international sports competitions.

US national anthem protests at sporting events continue to spread

By Alan Gilman, 28 September 2016

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem before NFL games, in protest of racial injustice and police brutality, has continued to gain support.

NFL football players spread protests over police violence, racism

By Alan Gilman, 20 September 2016

The protest begun by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick over police violence and racial oppression has been taken up by other athletes.

Professional football quarterback Colin Kaepernick protests US police killings

By Alan Gilman, 30 August 2016

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback refused to stand for the national anthem, protesting the relentless promotion of the police and military during professional sports games.

Russian athletes barred from Paralympic Games

By Andrea Peters, 25 August 2016

In the latest salvo against Russia, the world’s top court of sports has ruled that the country’s disabled athletes cannot participate in the upcoming games.

Cohen of the Times on Rio Olympics: “I’m tired of reading about anger in the slums”

By Bill Van Auken, 17 August 2016

Cohen’s column sums up the social attitudes of a whole privileged layer, who are indifferent to inequality, despise the working class and have embraced imperialism as a necessary foundation of their wealth.

Rio Olympics: Reviving the methods of dictatorship

By Rafael Azul, 9 August 2016

The opening days of the Summer Olympic Games have proven that the Brazilian authorities have zero tolerance for even minimal forms of protest.

Rio 2016: The “Olympic ideal” and the reality of capitalism

By Bill Van Auken, 8 August 2016

The Olympics are being held under conditions of military occupation in Brazil, one of the world’s must unequal countries, wracked by economic, social and political crises.

Rio Olympics overshadowed by social crisis

By Rafael Azul, 5 August 2016

The Rio Olympic Games open in the midst of social crisis.

A week before Rio games, protesters extinguish Olympic flame

By Bill Van Auken, 30 July 2016

The Olympics are being held in a Brazil wracked by political and economic crisis as well as mounting social unrest.

Russian athletes to participate in summer Olympics under discriminatory regime

By David Levine, 26 July 2016

The International Olympic Committee will allow Russian athletes to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games if they can convince sports authorities they are innocent of doping.

The Fort Bragg baseball game, American militarism and the Fourth of July

By Niles Niemuth—SEP candidate for vice president, 5 July 2016

Sunday’s baseball game at the Fort Bragg military base was intended to manipulate the celebration of the American Revolution in order to promote militarism and war.

New doping allegations against Russia ahead of summer Olympics

By Barry Grey, 14 May 2016

While it is entirely possible that the Putin government has overseen a program of doping, the unsubstantiated allegations are being used to promote a reactionary geopolitical agenda.

Hillsborough: A powerful and moving account of Britain’s worst sporting disaster

By Robert Stevens, 14 May 2016

The documentary reconstructs key events and includes harrowing footage of the crush and its aftermath, as well as interviews with family members, survivors and police officers on duty.

The Program: The success and calamitous failure of Lance Armstrong

By David Walsh, 9 April 2016

The latest film from veteran British director Stephen Frears dramatizes the saga of cyclist Lance Armstrong’s rise to the top and his subsequent disgrace in a doping scandal.

NFL admits connection between concussions and degenerative brain disease

By Alan Gilman, 19 March 2016

The NFL’s public acknowledgement that playing American football may cause brain damage is motivated by an attempt to protect the organization against future lawsuits.

Concussion: Highlighting the perils of American football

By Alan Gilman, 14 January 2016

Despite its limitations, Concussion serves to bring before a mass audience the grave risks inherent in playing America’s most popular sport.

Report reveals massive pro-war propaganda campaign

Military spectacle and American sport

By Eric London, 6 November 2015

According to a US Senate report, the Pentagon has paid over $50 million for hundreds of pro-war, pro-military propaganda events at sports stadiums in the last three years.

US imperialism and the FIFA corruption investigation

By Chris Marsden, 6 June 2015

No aspect of life is exempt from the impact of mounting economic, political and military antagonisms—and there is no limit to what the US is prepared to do to impose its will.

Media hypocrisy over fate of migrant labour in Qatar

By Mark Blackwood, 5 June 2015

The campaign to overturn FIFA’s decisions to hold the World Cup in Russia and Qatar has spawned a slew of hypocritical articles over the atrocious conditions facing migrant workers.

FIFA head resigns amidst US-led campaign over bribery scandal

By Niles Williamson, 3 June 2015

Sepp Blatter announced his resignation Tuesday in the face of immense pressure from the United States and European powers, upset above all by his closer relations with Russia.

Prince William spearheads UK campaign against FIFA, targeting Russia

By Robert Stevens, 1 June 2015

The campaign against FIFA head Sepp Blatter is part of the geo-political manoeuvres of the United States and its imperialist allies.

US seizes on FIFA corruption to pursue campaign against Russia

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 29 May 2015

The rampant financial corruption within football’s ruling body is being utilised by the US primarily as a propaganda weapon against Russia, chosen by FIFA to host the 2018 World Cup.

The “Fight of the Century”: An orgy of wealth and profit

By Joseph Santolan, 6 May 2015

The boxing and entertainment industries generated over a billion dollars in profit out of the spectacle of two men punching at each other for thirty-six minutes.

Star US professional football player retires over fears of brain trauma

By Alan Gilman, 24 March 2015

National Football League linebacker Chris Borland, after a starring rookie season, announced last week that he is retiring in order to avoid crippling brain injuries.

Ohio football player, apparent suicide victim, complained of concussions

By Alan Gilman, 5 December 2014

Defensive tackle Kosta Karageorge, 22, reported missing for several days, was found dead in a dumpster in Columbus, Ohio from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The death of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes

By James Cogan, 2 December 2014

The overblown response of the entire media, political and sporting establishment to Hughes’s death deserves careful and critical scrutiny.

Drone flying “Greater Albania” flag provokes soccer riot in Serbia

By Paul Mitchell, 16 October 2014

The violence at the UEFA qualifying match happened on the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belgrade to mark the 70th anniversary of the city’s liberation from Nazi occupation in World War II.

The NFL’s Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson—and the moral high ground of American corporations

By David Walsh, 19 September 2014

In response to recent incidents involving US professional football players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, a number of large corporations have expressed “concern” or even withdrawn sponsorships.

Brain damage affects 3 in 10 former National Football League players

By Alan Gilman, 18 September 2014

In a lawsuit brought by former players, the National Football League has admitted that nearly a third of retired players will suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s and other long-term cognitive diseases.

Gas billionaire purchases Buffalo NFL Franchise for record $1.2 billion

By Jason Melanovski, 17 September 2014

Terry Pegula has been awarded the rights to the Buffalo Bills National Football League franchise in a bidding war that lasted for several months.

The Ray Rice case and the violence of American football

By Alan Gilman and Jerry White, 10 September 2014

Nowhere in the round-the-clock media coverage and sanctimonious statements of NFL officials, team owners and political figures has there been the slightest insight into the broader social causes of such violence.

Brazil suffers World Cup rout amid mounting social tensions

By Bill Van Auken, 10 July 2014

Brazil’s unprecedented debacle in its semifinal match with Germany has brought to the forefront the deep-going social conflicts that have surrounded this year’s World Cup.

Anti-Muslim hysteria surrounds World Cup in France

By Antoine Lerougetel, 3 July 2014

Public statements and policies stigmatizing Algerians during the World Cup reflect the escalating anti-immigrant hysteria seizing the French ruling elite.

On opening day of the World Cup, protests continue in Brazil

By Rafael Azul, 13 June 2014

Protests and strikes continued in Sao Paulo, Río de Janeiro and other cities on the opening day of the World Cup.

More National Football League players file suit over injuries

By Matthew Brennan, 26 May 2014

A group of retired NFL players allege that professional football knowingly supplied them with illegal narcotics and addictive painkillers.

Former US baseball pitcher alleges police brutality ended his career

By Tom Hall, 5 April 2014

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Brandon Backe and 11 co-litigants allege that Galveston police indiscriminately attacked a wedding party in 2008.

Joe Louis Arena facing closure, demolition as part of stadium deal with Ilitch

By Thomas Gaist, 19 March 2014

The deal represents yet another huge giveaway to billionaire Mike Ilitch.

UK: Families of Hillsborough disaster victims placed under police surveillance

By Barry Mason, 4 March 2014

Hillsborough family campaigners strongly believed their phone calls were being monitored in the aftermath of the football stadium disaster.

Violence in sports: Two more boxers die from head injuries

By Matthew Brennan, 12 February 2014

On February 3, Mexican featherweight boxer Oscar Gonzalez died from brain injuries sustained during a match with Jesus Galicia in Mexico City.

US media, politicians mobilize against Sochi Olympics

By Andrea Peters, 10 February 2014

The Sochi Olympics opened on Friday amid a propaganda onslaught from the US media, taking its cues from the Obama administration and allied powers in Europe.

Tensions mount between US and Russia in lead-up to Olympics

By Andrea Peters, 27 January 2014

The US government and the Western media are working to turn the Sochi Olympics into a debacle for the Russian government.

Top baseball player Alex Rodriguez suspended through 2014 season

By Alan Gilman, 6 August 2013

Major League Baseball has suspended another 13 players, including New York Yankee star Alex Rodriguez, for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Major League Baseball suspends Ryan Braun for using steroids

By Alan Gilman, 30 July 2013

The latest chapter in the ongoing saga of performance-enhancing drugs shows how the drive for profit has debased professional sports.

Australian media furore over sport “drug cheats”

By Mike Head, 11 February 2013

The source of the constant pressure on athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs is the multi-billion-dollar profits being made from the sports-media-entertainment industry.

Junior Seau’s family sues National Football League over brain trauma

By Bryan Dyne, 26 January 2013

The family of Junior Seau, the former San Diego Chargers football star, is suing the NFL for negligence.

Lance Armstrong and the world of professional sports

By David Walsh, 23 January 2013

Armstrong apparently operated a type of mini-Mafia in cycling, bringing to the sport the very worst of American predatory entrepreneurship.

Baseball great Stan Musial dead at 92

By Alan Gilman, 23 January 2013

During his career Musial won seven batting titles, three World Series titles, was voted the National League’s most valuable player three times and was named to a record-tying 24 All-Star teams.

NHL union lays the basis for massive concessions for hockey players

By Alexander Fangmann, 4 December 2012

The hockey players’ union has agreed in principle to massive reductions in salary and changes in contract structure, with negotiations continuing over their implementation.

The World Series and militarism

By James Brewer, 30 October 2012

Major League Baseball has taken every opportunity to infuse the World Series with patriotism and the glorification of war.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong stripped of Tour de France titles

By Bryan Dyne, 27 October 2012

Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, has been barred from further cycling competition by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

NHL lockout of players continues

By Alexander Fangmann, 4 October 2012

The continued NHL lockout threatens regular season games as owners demand massive salary concessions and contract modifications.

National Football League and referees reach tentative agreement

By Alan Gilman, 28 September 2012

NFL referee lockout caused mass anger over officiating mistakes.

Lockout of National Football League referees continues

By Alan Gilman, 20 September 2012

The National Football League lockout of its on-field officials continues into the third week of the NFL season.

The London Olympics and the social crisis

By Chris Marsden, 4 August 2012

Major sporting matches are inevitably coloured by broader economic, social and political factors, and none more so than this, the premier global event.

Corporate sponsors tighten grip on the Olympics

By Paul Stuart, 2 August 2012

The accumulated impact of corporate sponsorship on each successive games is extinguishing whatever remains of the original Olympic ideal.

What Danny Boyle’s Olympic pageant does and does not say about Britain

By Chris Marsden, 1 August 2012

It is to film director Danny Boyle’s credit that his Olympic Games opening ceremony aroused such a hostile reaction from a section of the UK’s Conservative right.

Global elite descend on East London for Olympics

By Paul Stuart, 27 July 2012

The Royal Dock complex, adjacent to London’s financial district at Canary Wharf, is hosting up to one hundred super yachts, including twenty of the world’s most opulent, as the Olympic Games begin.

US: National Football League officials locked out

By Alan Gilman, 26 July 2012

With the National Football League set to open training camps later this month, the league’s on-field officials remain locked out.

Crime, punishment and hypocrisy in the Penn State scandal

By Patrick Martin, 25 July 2012

The NCAA is neither an impartial judge nor an innocent bystander.

British trade unions push productivity deals and enforced arbitration during Olympics

By Paul Stuart, 16 July 2012

The trade unions are pushing through productivity deals in the transport sector ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games due to start 27 July.

London Olympic missile sites confirmed despite protests

By Paul Bond, 12 July 2012

The government has confirmed the locations of ground-based air defence missiles across London during the Olympic Games.

The suicide of professional football player Junior Seau

By Tom Eley, 4 May 2012

The suicide of Junior Seau is the latest in a series of incidents highlighting the brutality of America’s most popular spectator sport.

US baseball manager suspended for comment on Castro

By Tom Eley, 12 April 2012

The US media has reacted hysterically to comments about Fidel Castro made by Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillén.

The New Orleans Saints’ “bounty” program and violence in American sports

By David Walsh, 8 March 2012

From 2009 through 2011, a defensive coach and players on the New Orleans Saints football team operated a program under which players were paid cash rewards for injuring opponents, with higher payments for more serious injuries.

The death of Joe Paterno and the Penn State scandal

By Hiram Lee, 27 January 2012

Legendary college football coach Joe Paterno, demonized in the media for his role in the Penn State scandal, died January 22 at the age of 85.

Basketball team owners prevail as NBA lockout ends

By Matthew Brennan, 6 December 2011

After a five-month lockout, the players and the owners in the National Basketball Association have tentatively agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Issues involved in the National Basketball Association lockout

By Matthew Brennan, 24 November 2011

The high profile labor dispute over a new collective bargaining agreement between National Basketball Association (NBA) team owners and players appears to have reached an impasse.

Letters on the Penn State scandal

17 November 2011

Letters in response to The Penn State scandal and sports in America

The Penn State scandal and sports in America

By David Walsh, 15 November 2011

The scandal currently enveloping Penn State’s football program, involving alleged child abuse by a former coach at the school, has dominated much of the American media for the past week.

The deaths of three hockey “enforcers:” The tragic contradictions of professional sports

By Jack Miller, 26 September 2011

Three current or former National Hockey League players, all of them known as “enforcers,” have died this year either by suicide or as the result of alcohol and drugs.

The 2018 Winter Olympics: Money and power

By Werner Albrecht, 12 July 2011

Major sporting events today are all about national prestige and big business, with corruption, bribery and doping playing ever-increasing roles.

Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team files for bankruptcy

By Alan Gilman, 4 July 2011

Owner Frank McCourt has looted as much as $200 million from the celebrated franchise.

Aboriginal boxer Lionel Rose dies, aged 62

By Richard Phillips, 27 May 2011

Lionel Rose will be remembered long after the well-heeled politicians “paying their respects” have left the scene.

The Pacquiao phenomenon in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 9 May 2011

Like almost every boxing figure before him, Manny Pacquiao came from a life of grinding poverty. It is this history—the intimate shared reality of suffering and struggle—that the vast majority Filipinos identify with.

US football player targeted for criticizing celebration of Bin Laden killing

By Jerry White, 7 May 2011

The media and corporate sponsors have gone after Pittsburgh Steeler running back Rashard Mendenhall for criticizing the jingoistic celebrations following the killing of Bin Laden.

The Pakistani cricket match-fixing scandal

By Tom Peters, 21 September 2010

The media campaign and charges against Pakistani cricketers Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt reveal the extent to which cricket has become dominated by commercial imperatives.

The World Cup and South Africa

By Ann Talbot, 26 June 2010

Football and squalid shantytowns are no strangers to one another. For many barefoot children playing the game in the dust, their skills with the ball are seen as a way out of poverty.

A comment on the Vancouver Winter Olympics

The unnecessary death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili

By Jack Miller, 16 February 2010

The tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre north of Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday continues to cast a dark cloud over the Winter Olympic Games.

The Tiger Woods episode: Money, the media, and the “path to redemption”

By David Walsh, 16 December 2009

The American media is generally full of rubbish, but more rubbish has been written and broadcast about Tiger Woods and his affairs than any other subject in some time.

The case of NFL football star Michael Vick

By Hiram Lee and David Walsh, 1 September 2007

Following a week of intense media scrutiny, Michael Vick, National Football League (NFL) quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, pled guilty on August 27 to federal dogfighting charges. Vick, whose sentencing is set for December 10, faces the possibility of up to 5 years in prison, but is expected to serve only 12 to 18 months due to his plea agreement.

Australian court endorses Murdoch takeover of rugby league

By Robert Hoffman and John Roberts, 10 January 2001

An acrimonious court case late last year in Australia's Federal Court over the exclusion of a team from the National Rugby League (NRL) spotlights how Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation uses sport to expand its pay TV subscriber base and secure multi-million dollar profits.

Scandal dogs bidding war over Soccer World Cup

By Chris Marsden, 12 July 2000

The world of international soccer has been gripped by scandal over the awarding to Germany of the right to host the 2006 World Cup. The decision was the result of a controversial vote by the sports ruling body, FIFA, last week, in which a German victory by 12 votes to 11 over rival South Africa was made possible by the abstention of Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) President Charlie Dempsey of New Zealand, who was delegated to vote for the African country after England dropped out. If Dempsey had voted for South Africa the ballot would have been level. FIFA President Sepp Blatter favoured South Africa and would have cast the tie-breaking vote.

Behind the corruption scandals

Big business demands a corporate Olympics

By Richard Phillips, 16 March 1999

The international media, not known in the past for its criticism of the International Olympic Committee, has over the past six months been the vehicle for seemingly endless exposures of corruption affecting the IOC--with each new revelation more damning than its predecessor.