Robert Lipsyte

Robert Lipsyte

Robert Lipsyte is the jock culture correspondent for TomDispatch. He returns after having been on leave to explore the belly of the beast as Ombudsman for ESPN. His most recent book is his memoir, An Accidental Sportswriter.

Articles by this author

It’s Trump’s dream team because, to win in November, he needs an America in which the National Football League is back in business big time.  (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Reopening Day 2020?: Big-Time Spectator Sports Are the Last Things We Need
As controversies about the "reopening" of America loom over our lives, nothing seems as intrinsically irrelevant—yet possibly as critically important—as how soon major spectator sports return. If sports don’t trump religion as the opiate of the masses, they have, until recently, been at least the...
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Alpha male that he is, the Head Coach has absolute control over the brutes. (Photo: CJ Gunther/EPA/REX/Shuttershock) Views
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Five Criteria for Selecting the Worst Old White Man to Lead Us
Attorney General William Barr’s campaign to expand the powers of the presidency to unprecedented imperial levels has been misinterpreted as an attempt to raise Donald Trump to the level of his strongman heroes like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Jair Bolsonaro. Fake news! It’s really been an...
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Attempts to create rules to avoid, say, crippling blocks and tackles have generally been met by howls of anguish from chickenhawk fans who cried out: don’t sissify football. (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Views
Friday, December 13, 2019
The Six Ways the NFL Groomed Us for President Trump
Because everything is so Trumpian these days, there’s less air or space for the only other mass entertainment that promotes tribalism and toxic masculinity while keeping violence in vogue: football. In the age of The Donald, it’s hard to remember that football was once the nation’s greatest...
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Greg, who died in 2017 at 84, is now gaining the full recognition he long deserved as a pioneer of political black comedy who sacrificed a superstar career on the ramparts of 1960s civil rights activism. (Photo: Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, August 08, 2019
When Comedian Dick Gregory Tried to Bust the Word and Stand Up to Racism
One afternoon in New York City in the spring of 1964, I marched at the head of a small civil rights demonstration, one of the few white people in the group. I was carrying a watermelon. It was a Dick Gregory joke. To say the least, not everyone liked that joke, but I thought it was hilarious, a jab...
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Think of big-time sports, the stuff that makes TV hum every season of the year, as now truly being, like Tiger himself, on the Trump Team where crime, bribery, and cheating of every sort is the order of the day.  (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Views
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
How the Worst Values of Sports Are Taking Over America
A half-century ago, the sporting Cassandras predicted that the worst values and sensibilities of our increasingly corrupted civic society would eventually affect our sacred games: football would become a gladiatorial meat market, basketball a model of racism, college sports a paradigm of...
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Will this finally mobilize a resistance movement or will it just further confirm the dominance of the pack? (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Trump and Kavanaugh Win One for the Pack
Brett Kavanaugh’s hellish Supreme Court fraternity pledge week offered many lessons, but the most powerful, if least noted, was about the raising of boys in America -- all boys, not just the groomed Georgetown elite from which the judge emerged. Too many boys are raised in packs, whether they’re...
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"Trump, once a pro football owner himself, clearly understands a white male mindset in which black football players exist only to provide on-field thrills, never to be humanized, much less allowed to protest inequality and racism." (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Trump's War on Black Jocks
Snatching immigrant babies may have scored some points for President Trump with his base, but it was never going to light up the scoreboard like tackling black jocks. That one really played to the grandstands. The complicated combination of adoration and resentment so many white males feel for...
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Journalism, which expends a great deal of energy examining and carping about all forms of popular culture, rarely criticizes jock culture in any fundamental way. Views
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Groping for Manhood
Almost 80, I’ve been stunned and bewildered by the ever-expanding list of sexually predatory males, from movie mogul Harvey Weinstein to former New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier to comedian Louis C.K . And it’s triggered a list of questions for me: Who raised these louts? How did they give...
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One long-time national sports conscience, Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, declared that Sunday, September 24th, was “the most important sports day since [Muhammad] Ali decided not to fight in Vietnam.” Views
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Racism, Violence, and Trump's Tackling of the NFL
Millions of football fans must have felt grateful to President Trump for provoking the entire National Football League into a goal line stand last month. The sight of hundreds of players on the sidelines, arms linked with coaches and owners during the playing of the national anthem, not only...
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"To understand golf is to understand Trump. He uses golf as a social lubricant for business, which is its most important function in American culture. Since it operates on the honor system, golf is convenient for lying cheats." Views
Friday, August 04, 2017
The Sport of Plutocrats
While waiting for Trump to jump the tracks, let’s savor the day when his inevitable train wreck first passed through a critical safety switch. On June 9th, President Trump alienated his true base -- the reactionary rich -- by driving his golf cart onto the green at the Trump National Golf Club in...
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