It’s that time of year when the panels of experts on sports call-in shows shout opinions on the best and worst of the past twelve months. To finish the year, New Books in Sports offers its own panels of experts. But rather than arguing over the biggest matches and plays of the year, they’ll share their insights into some of the most acute problems facing sport today.
In the last year, the National Football League has had to contend with a growing body of evidence showing brain damage in former players. To learn how these discoveries are affecting football, from the professional ranks down to the youth level, and what they mean for the future of the game, we’ll hear from journalist Patrick Hruby and Michael Oriard, a longtime scholar of football and a former NFL player. We’ll turn from American football to the world game, and look at the impact of last June’s demonstrations in Brazil. Will the political upheaval in Brazil affect the FIFA World Cup in 2014, and will it change the decisions of FIFA and other organizations in awarding sports mega-events? We put those questions to economist Victor Matheson, Rio-based geographer and journalist Christopher Gaffney, and Tim Vickery, the BBC’s football correspondent in South America. And after a year of bad news that spilled from the sports pages to the front pages, we raise the question of whether our fandom compromises our sense of morality. We hear from journalist and author Gideon Haigh, philosopher Heather Reid, and religion writer Tom Krattenmaker about the toll that sport takes on moral character.
And because this is New Books in Sports, we also need to get recommendations on some good reads. We’ll hear from David Steele of The Sporting News and cricket writers Bernard Whimpress and David Mutton about their favorite books of the last year.