Sports and politics — some say they go together, others say they should never go together, and that athletes should just shut up and play. President Trump touched off a big debate about the topic with his incendiary comments last week. On this first of two episodes, I discuss the role of athletes in politics with the one and only Kareem Abdul Jabbar — an icon whose life has been a study in how athletics and politics intertwine. Since he was a young player, Kareem chose to use his platform for political causes. In 1967, he stood in solidarity at the famous “Ali Summit’ to show support for Muhammed Ali’s refusal to be drafted into the war. He then boycotted the 1968 Olympics. Now, he is a prolific writer on political and cultural issues. During our conversation, we discussed everything from civil rights to Islamophobia to his role in Airplane! to the Colin Kaepernick controversy to climate change.
It’s that time of year we all know so well — the summer is ending, the smell of autumn is in the air, and that means its the back to school vibe, and football season. But that may not be a reason to rejoice. In recent years we’ve been hit by some disturbing science suggesting that football is more dangerous than we ever thought. There are concerns about concussions and CTE — the long-term brain damage believed to be caused by repeated head trauma. A recent study of 111 brains of NFL players found that 110 of them showed signs of CTE. Luke Zaleski knows this science pretty well — he is the research director for GQ magazine, which has published stories about the health and safety concerns surrounding football. In a new article, Zaleski reviewed his own personal decisionmaking process as a father of an 8-year-old boy who wanted to play tackle football in school. On this episode, I talk to Zaleski about his article called “What Kind of Father Lets His Son Play Football?”
This weekend was the Labor Day holiday — a day that is supposed to celebrate the American worker. But does our country honors the American worker on a day to day basis? On this first of two podcasts about the changing relationship between workers and employers, I talk to Rick Wartzman — the former Wall Street Journal reporter whose new book says no, America does not honor workers anymore. Wartzman explores a fundamental shift in corporate culture, and argues that things could get far worse for employees in the age of technological change. He also offers up straightforward policies that could begin to improve the situation.