Synopses & Reviews
Riveting and inspiring first-person stories of how “taking a knee” triggered an awakening in sports, from the celebrated sportswriter
In 2016, amid an epidemic of police shootings of African Americans, the celebrated NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began a series of quiet protests on the field, refusing to stand during the U.S. national anthem. By “taking a knee,” Kaepernick bravely joined a long tradition of American athletes making powerful political statements. This time, however, Kaepernick’s simple act spread like wildfire throughout American society, becoming the preeminent symbol of resistance to America’s persistent racial inequality.
Critically acclaimed sports journalist and author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States, Dave Zirin chronicles “the Kaepernick effect” for the first time, through interviews with a broad cross-section of professional athletes across many different sports, college stars and high-powered athletic directors, and high school athletes and coaches. In each case, he uncovers the fascinating explanations and motivations behind a mass political movement in sports, through deeply personal and inspiring accounts of risk-taking, activism, and courage both on and off the field.
A book about the politics of sport, and the impact of sports on politics, The Kaepernick Effect is for anyone seeking to understand an essential dimension of the new movement for racial justice in America.
“The Kaepernick Effect reveals that Colin Kaepernick’s story is bigger than one athlete. With profiles of courage that leap off the page, Zirin uncovers a whole national movement of citizen-athletes fighting for racial justice.” Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist
“An enthralling look at the impact of peaceful protest by sports figures at the high school, college, and professional levels... offers rousing evidence of the life-changing effects spurred by individual action.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Kaepernick Effect stands alone in capturing the true impact of the former quarterback’s peaceful protest, which was to inspire a generation. Zirin’s interviews with athletes of all ages are meticulous and fascinating, cementing Kaepernick’s status as one of the most significant athletes in American history.” Mina Kimes, ESPN
“Dave Zirin hits the bulls-eye with this textured examination of the man behind the movement and the movement inspired by the man.” Sekou Smith, NBA TV/NBA.com senior analyst
“Sharp and illuminating and a joy to read, Zirin’s analysis of events is unparalleled for its clarity and force. This book has been missing from our understanding of the current political moment; Zirin has filled the void.” Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
About the Author
One of UTNE Reader's "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World," Dave Zirin is a columnist for The Nation, SLAM Magazine, and The Progressive. His books include A People's History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play; Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love; Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down; and The Kaepernick Effect (all published by The New Press), as well as What's My Name, Fool?, Welcome to the Terrordome, and The John Carlos Story. He is the host of Sirius XM's popular weekly show Edge of Sports Radio and a regular guest on ESPN's Outside the Lines and on MSNBC. He lives near Washington, DC.