Sports

Marvin Miller's Lasting Legacy

The first leader of the MLB players union helped dramatically transform labor relations not just in baseball—but in all of America's professional sports. 

(AP Photo)

While he was alive, the baseball establishment five times rejected Marvin Miller, who freed players from indentured servitude, from its Hall of Fame. The Major League Baseball Players Association, which Miller headed from 1966 to 1983, sat on its hands, failing to raise a stink about this outrageous miscarriage of justice.

Miller, who died on Tuesday at 95, was never bitter about his exclusion from the Cooperstown shrine. As a staunch unionist, he knew which side he was on and understood that the baseball owners and executives who control the Hall of Fame would rig the rules to keep him out. The baseball moguls have always viewed their teams as personal fiefdoms and are among the most ferociously anti-union crowd around. 

Forget the Pompoms

With the development of acro and stunt programs, cheerleaders seek official recognition as athletes.

(Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

If the leaves are changing color, it means all things pigskin hog the spotlight, with the main focus on the football field as gridiron gladiators go to battle. But shift the attention to the sidelines to the cheerleading squad, and you’ll find similar athleticism and the same kinds of debates over safety concerns as those currently at the center of football. It’s a reminder of a question that would appear simple on the surface but is in fact bedeviling the world of athletics: Is cheerleading a sport?

Lance Armstrong, the George W. Bush of Sports

USADA's report confirmed our worst suspicions about cycling's self-appointed king, finally marking the end of a long era of lying and arrogance.

(AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

The next thing you know, we'll find out he never even really had cancer. Short of that, it beats me what new revelation anyone would need to confirm the verdict Chicago Tribune sportswriter Phil Hersh delivered recently on CNN: "You can push Marion Jones and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and Rosie Ruiz aside. Lance Armstrong is the greatest fraud in the history of sports."

Holding the Stick

The National Hockey League's low-ball contract offer could cost a lot of games, and a lot of communities their seasonal income.

(Flickr/Tim Shahan)

The National Hockey League's low-ball contract offer could cost a lot of games, and a lot of communities' their seasonal income.

Open Playing Field

The professional sports world is slowly beginning to loosen its rigid intolerance toward gays.

(Flickr/loweonthego)

The professional sports locker room can be a scary place, with unwritten rules and political rankings that include which players get lockers next to each other—or far, far away from one another. There are cliques, hazing, pranks, and outsize expectations of toughness. It’s the ultimate site where the stereotypes of what it means to be a man get played out, and the challenge is to fit in and not shake up the coveted “chemistry” teams strive to create. So it isn’t surprising that not a single active gay athlete has come out in American baseball, hockey, football, or basketball. But as the gay-rights movement makes strides in society at large—including the Obama administration backing marriage equality, more states voting to legalize gay marriage, and the military ending its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy—the sports world is starting to change, too, with more and more athletes speaking out in support of the LGBT community.

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