Interview: Dave Zirin

I recently caught up with sports journalist Dave Zirin on the week of his latest released book, Game Over: How Politics has Turned the Sports World Upside Down. He’s the sports editor for The Nation, runs his own blog Edge of Sports, in addition to his many books about the politics of Muhammad Ali and John Carlos, and a ton of other topics where “sports and politics collide.” What I attempt to do on my show is an intersection of HipHop and politics so I asked Dave Zirin about how HipHop has influenced his career. He answered by telling me stories of seeing Common perform in the Chi in 1994, kickin it on the block with Tribe and the legacy of political and social defiance. The new book looks at how our favorite sports teams are the mask that disguises some crazy political corruption and deceit. Check this interview then cop the new book, Game Over.

NFL Referees, your low paying job and labor unions

Its football preseason time and the regular season is quickly approaching. Madden 13 finally came out. NFL labor negotiations are a thing of the (recent) past. Well, except for the referees. The league has locked out their referees over contract negotiations. You would think that referees are almost as important an aspect to any sport as equipment or coaches. But the NFL seems to think they are not all that important, and easily replaceable.

What does this have to do with our shitty paying jobs? Its all about workers verses owners (and not the mom and pop down the street, we’re talking about the super wealthy, elite business owners). In the last several years, the NHL, NBA and NFL have all had their seasons adversely affected by labor negotiations. This usually means the owners want to pay less and the workers (players) want to make more. Usually, the owners (or the league) is making a ton of profit, perhaps even more profit than the previous year, yet the workers are demanded to take pay-cuts. And so lock outs (or sometimes strikes) ensue. Many of us have similar dilemmas at work, whether we participate in them or not, whether we know they exist or not. Consider everything you know, everything you’ve read, seen or heard about your favorite sport’s last labor negotiations. Now put that into your own job: Your boss is making money hand over fist and suddenly he/she comes to you and demands that times are tough and you take a pay cut, or work more hours or get less vacation time. With rare exceptions, business owners don’t want their employees to make more money; and with few exceptions, profits that are generated by workers are reserved only for the executives. Sounds shitty right?

The point of a labor union is to combat the power of the ownership and assert the power of the workers to demand and negotiate for better compensation. That is what the NHL, NFL and NBA players’ associations are for. That’s what the NFL Referees union is supposed to do the same. And BOTH are set up to defend their members against the league and the owners. So during this referee lockout, why aren’t NFL players and the NFLPA standing strong in support of the referees? The last NFLPA negotiation focused on player health; certainly having incompetent referees officiating games poses at least a minor threat to player safety. Even if it doesn’t, these are two organizations with the same goals and the same opponents. for the future of workers everywhere, this alliance could set precedent for workers’ right in the entire country.

For more on this issue, check out the latest entry on Edge of Sports by Dave Zirin.

Why are the NFL Refs Locked Out? It’s All in the Game

What do you think?

—DJ DISCourse

Playlist- 8/28/12

Today on Fire for the People, we played all these jams:

Stay tuned for the archived episode and if you are feelin any of these joints, by all means hit up the web and buy and/or download them all!

Longshot- Lazy Dayz
Bodega Brovas- Now or Never
DJ Nu-Mark- Our Generation
Yirim Seck- Crescendo
Gensu Dean- Wantchu
Purpose and Confidence- Vision of Excellence
Brother Ali- 4th King
Murs, Fashawn- Slash Gordon
Dysfunkshunal Familee- Run Around
Tanya Morgan- Whatever Thats Mine
BPos- Unite Tonight
Reks, Numonics- Unlearn
Ron Artiste (Roc C and Chali 2na)- Ron’s Theme
JR & PH7 ft Sean Price, Skyzoo- Until Its All Said and Done
Gliffics- Burgundy Walls
Action Bronson- Cocoa Butter
Do Dat- Ruby Ebony Ivory
Rashad and Confidence- Days of My Youth
Harn SOlo- The Grind
Mally and SUndance Kid- Take Off
Kendrick Lamar- Swimming Pools
Open Mike Eagle- Freewriting Exercise
Gotham Green, Quickie Mart- Everything
Fleeta Partee- DIRTYRUGZ
Nitty Scott, MC- Work (grustlin)

Why YOU won’t be able to vote this November

Have ya’ll been listening to the news the last several weeks? Politicians (especially Florida Governor Rick Scott) have been ramping up efforts to deny citizens the ability to vote this year. The tactics being implemented disproportionately affect minority voters and also seem to target swing states where a lack of minority vote could possibly swing a state to the other side of the political divide. These officials argue they are fighting voter fraud, but research shows that voter fraud is very rare (less than 3% has been the commonly reported number). Some pundits claim that these tactics are aimed at limiting Black and Hispanic votes in order to get an advantage over the Obama campaign. Check out this story from

Welcome to Fire for the People

What’s good HipHop Heads?

On the radio, Fire for the People brings you the dopest new music and interviews with the best independent rappers, MCs and producers in the game. We also ignite your minds by bringing you critical content about the issues that matter to our communities. The new website will do the same. Come through and check out the latest leaks and singles from underground legends and newcomers alike.

Chuck D once called HipHop the CNN of the ghetto: he was and is still right. So follow the “Know the Ledge” links to stay up on the latest news and commentary on issues that are affecting our communities and also peep “In the Cypher” links for other blogs, websites and labels that promote and create the freshest artists and music in the game.

Peace, salud, cheers ya’ll

DJ DISCourse