06 Oct Live Interview: How ‘The Kaepernick Effect’ Revealed Reactionary Forces in Youth Sports with Dave…
Citations Needed | October 6, 2021 | Transcript
Intro: This is Citations Needed with Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson.
Nima Shirazi: Welcome to Citations Needed, a podcast on the media, power, PR and the history of bullshit. I am Nima Shirazi.
Adam Johnson: I’m Adam Johnson.
Nima: Thank you, everyone, for joining us today for another virtual live interview. Of course, you can follow the show on Twitter @CitationsPod, Facebook Citations Needed, and become a supporter of the show through Patreon.com/CitationsNeededPodcast. All your help through Patreon is incredibly appreciated, we are 100 percent listener funded, we promise we will never have commercials or hawk mattresses — if we can help it! — and that is always helped by the support that we get.
Adam: That is a veiled threat.
Nima: It is. We might start hawking snack packs.
Adam: And of course when you become a supporter on Patreon, you get access to over 100 patron-only News Briefs, extensive show notes, our newsletter, and so much more fun stuff like that, including live shows like this Nima, which we do for patrons and I’m very excited doing this again. I know we took a break but I’m excited to go back to doing these. I really enjoy doing our live shows, it shows that we’re not just recording ten takes and Florence picks one of them, we can do a little live action, for I was a man of the theater in high school. I played King Creon in Antigone, true story.
Nima: Oh, nice. Nice. I was in West Side Story at one point.
Adam: Is that right? Who were you in West Side Story?
Nima: It was pre 9/11, which meant I was cast as a Jet, which would never happen now.
Adam: No. Not since 9/11. 9/11 ruined that.
Nima: So, you know, there you go.
Nima: But yeah, we are so thrilled to have everyone with us. Thank you so much for joining. We have a lot to get to because we are so excited to have friend of the show Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation magazine, host of the Edge of Sports podcast. Dave is the author of numerous books including What’s My Name, Fool?, People’s History of Sports in the United States, Welcome to the Terrordome, and Jim Brown: Last Man Standing. His latest book is The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World, out now from the New Press. Dave will join us in just a moment.
But Adam, we kind of wanted to, as we say, set the table a bit. It’s been five years since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee, kind of started inauspiciously I guess, during a preseason game, he actually was just sitting down on the bench behind his team not wanting to stand for the anthem, but then it changed.
Adam: He consulted with some people which we’ll talk about with Dave. In the actual game in September, or rather it may have been another preseason game, all hell broke loose and I remember this distinctly because it was the perfect storm of shit, of reactionary politics, you know, we talk about sports often on the show I think and I think that this shows why that’s necessary because it is such a platform for these discussions, and I’m so glad that Dave wrote this book because we have, which again we’ll get into it with him, we have a reputation of being a negative show or rather being a downer.
Adam: And what makes this book so great, I’m reading this, is you come away from it, you know, to be honest I didn’t completely finish it, I finished about three quarters which was pretty good given the timeframe —
Nima: Dave will fill you in on the rest.
Adam: Yeah, you come away and you come away with hope, you come with a note of hope, and this shows that it’s not all for naught there is a point to it all. Again, our show is not meant to be downer.
Nima: It tends to be, we’re going to flip that tonight, we’re going to be super optimistic.
Adam: I’m excited to bring on Dave, obviously we’ll be doing media criticism a lot in this episode, but also that there is a touch of, you look at some of these interviews he does and these these young, I don’t want to sort of do the whole, you know, ‘Gen Z is gonna save us,’ because I think that could be kind of claptrap.
Nima: Maybe a little bit.
Adam: But maybe a little bit.
Nima: Us oldsters.
Adam: Maybe sometimes claptrap has an element of truth to it. So I’m excited to talk to Dave about it.
Nima: Yeah, I think we should bring him on. We are now joined by Dave Zirin, Sports Editor at The Nation, host of the Edge of Sports podcast, a man who writes new books faster than the Ultimate Warrior sprints down the aisle, knocks them off at a clip that is truly amazing. The latest book, of course, The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World out now from New Press. Dave, thank you so much for joining us on Citations Needed.
Dave Zirin: Oh, it’s great to be here on the Citations Needed Optimism Power Hour.
Nima: That’s right.
Dave Zirin: I’m just reminded of when Magic Johnson had his brilliant talk show, the tagline for it was him just being magic and it said “55 Smiles Per Hour.”
Adam: Yeah, he’s the only guy on Twitter who’s like, you know, everyone will sort of hate on Kevin Cash for pulling pitcher in the World Series and he’s like, you know, ‘Tough call, could go both ways.’ Magic! He’s so positive all the time.
Dave Zirin: That’s right.
Adam: The only person not jumping on the pile.
Dave Zirin: He likes saying things like, ‘The Milwaukee Bucks just won the NBA Championship.’
Adam: It’s positive, it’s good. That’s going to be this episode. Very excited.
Nima: That’s right. That is what we are doing. We are all about the power of positivity here. And so Dave, great to have you with us, you know, you certainly have been making the rounds talking about this book, every interview you give is so good and rich, and I really, you know — let’s do it again tonight, okay? (Chuckles.) So to start us off, please tell us, you know, here’s an easy one, what is the Kaepernick Effect? And really what led you to feel like you wanted to write this book, you know, it’s a book that is not actually about Colin Kaepernick, it is about the movement that kind of emerged from his actions and the actions of others who, you know, knelt in solidarity, but tell us about your entry point into this topic, what really strikes you about it, and why you decided to spend the time writing this book?
Dave Zirin: No, absolutely. I like the origin story for the book, because it’s got a note of the heroic, on behalf of one of my heroes, which is John Carlos from the 1968 Olympics, I wrote a memoir of John Carlos who raised his fist on the metal stand in 1968, we became good buddies, and that’s the most important part of the story. It’s not his life story, but our friendship.
Dave Zirin: It’s this wacky duo coming together. He once said to me, this is recently, about two years ago, he said to me, ‘You know, after we raised our fists in 1968 in Mexico City, I would hear all the time about young people at track meets and football games raising their fists during the anthem.’ And I was like, what? Because I studied this stuff a lot in terms of ’68, I’d never heard the stories of the young people raising their fists at sporting events, and I was like, how do I find these people? How do I talk to them? How do I find out what happened to them? What price did they pay? But of course that had been over 50 years ago, that’s not exactly the easiest book to put together. But it did make me think a lot about all these one off stories, some of which I’d written, some of which I’ve read by other people, some of which were just AP stories about young people taking the knee and how it would roil a small town or how a kid got kicked off the team or how there was violence at a game, garbage thrown at kids, you would write these one off stories about these particular events, and I just started to think to myself, god, how deep does this really go? I mean, and then you’re just going through basic internet searching, wow, this actually comprises hundreds, if not thousands of young athletes at the high school and collegiate level. That’s amazing. And it made me realize that what Colin Kaepernick’s great gift has been to a broader struggle and a young movement is a kind of language by which they could protest too. A key, a method. If you’re upset about police brutality, and racism, if you’re upset about anything, in terms of the gap between what this country says it promises and then what it delivers, you can take a knee, and everybody will know exactly what you mean. I mean, if we were at a county fair, or we were at a WrestleMania, it’s like, if we took a knee during the anthem, there’s no doubt among anybody who’s there, what exactly it is you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. That’s the power of it. So I had this idea, and it was just a very basic, humble idea that I wanted to just call and interview a bunch of these folks so their story didn’t get forgotten, and I thought about it being like the Kaepernick Effect, because it’s the effect of him taking that knee, all these other people took a knee, what did that produce in their lives? And I was doing these interviews, and it was going well, and then summer of 2020 happens, police murder of George Floyd, you have the largest protests in the history of the United States in summer of 2020, they are in all 50 states, and so I went back and called everybody who I interviewed, and it was amazing to me that they were all in the streets, they were all organizing, and these were people who when I talked to them about taking a knee, it was their first political experience, it was the first time they’d ever put themselves out there, and that just made me realize that while many roads may have led this country to the summer of 2021, one of them runs through the athletic fields of the United States, and that was a story I wanted to not so much tell as much as preserve, because you know what this country is like, you get the big personality in Kaepernick, and then that becomes evocative of the whole era. It’s the Kaepernick era, you know, as opposed to the people in the mass who really gave it substance and made it matter by bringing it to town after town across the country. I didn’t want that part to get forgotten.
Adam: Yeah, because I mean, this is the thing that’s so fascinating. We just did an Episode 136, with Amira Rose Davis from the excellent Burn It All Down podcast, and we talked about the sort of ungrateful athletes, so I don’t want to tread too much on that again, but so much of that, this is sort of a spiritual sequel to that, that there was this idea that there was this place that we came together on Friday nights, and I know that it wasn’t just football, but there’s this place to come together Friday nights, it’s the most, you know, Martin Luther King said them segregated hour of the week was Sunday morning, and I think in many ways the most integrated hour in many towns is Friday night at seven o’clock right? This was sort of a non-political zone that African American kids were going to run the ball, shut up, do their job. And then many start seeing the inspired by Kaepernick, the broader Black Lives Matter movement, of course, which is a predecessor to that, that this is sort of a huge explosion that goes on and you detail I mean, shit, death threat after death threat, divided communities, players kicked off the team. I want to start off by, before we go into those examples though, I want to talk about the initial response to the Kaepernick kneeling just to give some context because I do want to go into these individual stories. It’s not, like you said, it’s not about Kaepernick, but I want to start off just to give a little context, because it wasn’t even so much the kneeling itself, it was what it revealed about this country. You wrote, quote:
Kaepernick’s actions also provoked something deep, ugly and primordial in the American consciousness. They prompted a violent and highly racialized rage among a self-branded alt-right of racists being marshaled together to support the 2016 candidacy of Donald Trump. The unrepentantly divisive and proudly bigoted Trump said on the campaign trail to Kaepernick, ‘Maybe you should find another country to live.’
The implication being that he’s not American. I think so much has happened since August and September 2016, that it’s all been a blur. So I want to bring us back to that time, if you will, to kind of set the stage a little bit for the listeners. This, in many ways, portended that the November election and the forces that were being revealed and emerged, and again, we don’t to be too Pollyannaish about this, it’s not as if racist was invented by Trump or invented in the summer of 2016, but there was definitely a sort of, Trump knew how to speak the language of the Fox News viewer and the YouTube commenter in a way that others hadn’t quite harnessed, and he knew that while a Mitt Romney and again, not to sort of venerate these old Republicans, but while previous Republicans would have maybe ignored this, that he was gonna sink his teeth into and center himself in the struggle. I want to talk about that moment, what it revealed to you, and how, in many ways, of course, the totally batshit racist reaction retroactively completely justified the protests.
Dave Zirin: It made it spread.
Dave Zirin: I mean, that’s the thing about Donald Trump is that he didn’t really care about that, about the idea of, ‘Well, if I go after him, then his story becomes even bigger’ or anything like that, you know, for Donald Trump it’s just his lizard brain sees red meat, and knows that this is exactly what his audience wants to hear, and you set it up really well. I think one of the things, though, that it revealed was a great deal about the Republican and the Democratic Party. So it reveals something about why Donald Trump actually ended up beating Hillary Clinton, and also why we’re in the situation we’re in now regarding these issues, where you have Haitian asylum seekers getting whipped at the border, not to be too broad about it, but if you drill it down, though, and just look microcosmically at that the reaction to Kaepernick, we said already what it was on Trump’s side, it was, ‘Oh, hell yeah, let’s get as racist as we want to be,’ and this is perfect, it’s the ungrateful athlete, it’s the radical who hates America, it’s anti-military, just you know making things up. ‘You’re anti-military because you’re doing this,’ and then the response from not just Hillary Clinton et al, but from the entire power structure of the Democratic Party, because, you know, President Obama was asked about it and all sorts of other folks, they all said, ‘Well, I wish he’d stand, but I guess, you know, we understand that there are a lot of very, very conflicting opinions about this.’
Nima: ‘It’s complex. It’s so complex.’
Dave Zirin: It’s so complex.
Adam: Yeah, it’s the liberal capitulation was, I mean, Ruth Bader Ginsburg did this as well. It was all sort of a process criticism, again, you’re right, when there’s a pile on, a racist pile on, you can’t just defend the person and have solidarity you have to sort of try to split the difference to show that you aren’t racist, but you’re not really anti-racist. You’re whatever the latest Pew poll told you to me.
Nima: Yeah, and you love cops.
Dave Zirin: Love cops. Love.
Adam: Not the bad apples, but the other 99 percent we’re cool with.
Dave Zirin: Yeah, and Mark Penn has a great idea for how to talk about racism and police violence, because he’s lived that life.
Nima: Yeah, he really, it’s a lived experience. (Laughs.)
Dave Zirin: (Laughs.) It’s a lived experience.
Adam: So let’s zoom in on one of these examples, because again, you had this backlash. I want to talk about the example of Rodney Axson Jr., who’s a football player at Ohio’s Brunswick High School, this is the first example you give. You say he was the first athlete in the United States following Kaepernick to take the knee for the anthem. Tell us about that story and what your interviews and your reporting revealed about that story, what the response was to that.
Dave Zirin: Yeah. Rodney’s story is really important, first and foremost, because to me, he’s evocative of a lot of other folks in the book, but also, he was basically somebody in search of something to do publicly to register how upset he was at going to a predominantly white school in the suburbs of Cleveland, in a place called Brunswick, and that part is really interesting too, because his family left Cleveland because they were in a dangerous area and they were worried about the schools, and so they go to this predominantly white suburb where they’re going to be, quote-unquote “safe,” and get this great education. Meanwhile, Rodney is in a school where, you know, he’s on the football team and teammates are regularly saying the N-word about other players on other teams, and when he would say to them, ‘Hey, don’t say that, I’m right here,’ their response would be, ‘Well, we’re not talking about you,’ effectively saying, ‘You’re one of the good ones, it’s the other ones we don’t like,’ and so he’s living with that. He’s also living with instances with Brunswick finest, the police, being one of the few Black families there, and he’s also living with just the reality of what’s happening in the world, particularly the killing of Trayvon Martin, which I found, gets repeated over and over again, when I ask people their motivation, Trayvon Martin’s name comes out more than Colin Kaepernick’s name, when people would talk about why they did what they did. I mean, the motivation comes from being really young when Trayvon was killed, but old enough to know what was happening, and young enough to wonder why it has to be this way, and it scarred them and scarred Rodney in a way that is very reminiscent to me of the interviews I’ve read with civil rights activists talking about Emmett Till, and this generational scarring when Trayvon was killed that people were carrying forward. So Rodney had all of this on his shoulders and when he saw Kaepernick take the knee, it was like everything clicked, ‘Yes, this is something I can do,’ because you can’t go to the Brunswick mall and join a Black Lives Matter demonstration, that’s just not an option. And for a lot of the people I interviewed, if you’re in Beaumont, Texas, that’s just not an option.
Dave Zirin: There’s no workers’ center in rural Georgia, unless it’s some contraption set up to exploit immigrant labor, but not somewhere where you can go and organize, and talk to people. And by the way, that connects too with what you were saying about the stadium and Friday nights being an integrated space, that really got me thinking about the ways in which it is an integrated space for sure, but it’s also one of the few community spaces left in a lot of these areas.
Adam: Yeah, that’s one of the significances of football, especially, you know, start the school, that is a civic space, as we see a deterioration of unions, civic spaces, sports in many ways replaces that.
Dave Zirin: The Elks or whatever, you know.
Dave Zirin: Just this idea that you have associations.
Adam: It’s a secular or somewhat integrated, relatively integrated, and I stress relatively, integrated social space, which we just don’t have.
Dave Zirin: Exactly. So in a lot of places, it’s town gathering points, like a depoliticized town gathering point. So it’s the social space. I’ve learned this from some good friends of ours who moved to one of those Texas towns that I’d never been to where, you know, the whole football is a religion thing is not a cliche, and it is amazing that Friday nights are, yeah, it’s about football, but it’s also about food, and it’s also about people talking and catching up on the gossip and all this stuff. That’s what it is. And when you have Rodney Axson say, ‘Look, something is not right here,’ and you’re going to have to deal with that fact right here on your beautiful, pristine Friday night, I mean, he thought it would start a conversation but it sent people into paroxysms of rage, and that’s one of the things that I also saw looking at these different stories is that in each of these instances that I highlight in the book, people are doing something that’s non violent, and could be classified as an act of civil disobedience, and the response is not, ‘Gee, can we disagree without being disagreeable?’ Or whatever —
Adam: Oh, no, because I’m telling you, the biggest reaction you get is, at least from my experiences, you get is when it’s in sports, because sports are supposed to not be political, and then when you say, fuck you, you need to address this in that which is the most apolitical spaces, right? What does everyone say, ‘I just turned on ESPN, washboard, I don’t want to hear the woke stuff,’ blah, blah, blah. Especially from again, like you said, a place in society where Black people have some leverage and some power, that racial disciplining is so central to maintaining this social relationship.
Nima: But it’s also so faux apolitical, right? I mean, Dave, you’ve kind of been writing about this for a while that that space is, yeah, there’s this idea that it’s apolitical but only if you think that the things that, the propaganda that exists there, that the stratification that exists there is like status quo and apolitical, right? So it’s actually all political and just calling attention to something is the thing that seems like such a betrayal.
Dave Zirin: And that’s what Adam said about racial disciplining is so important because that’s really what the NFL is writ large, thinking about it as a process of very, very public racial disciplining is also a way to understand something that Michael Bennett, former NFL player, said to me when he said, ‘Don’t ever say that the NFL is an integrated operation, it’s segregated because it’s segregated between those of us whose bodies get destroyed and who are gone every three years and the people that own the franchises,’ and the executives and the coaches, all of which are overwhelmingly white, there are no Black owners. And this process of viewing it as segregated, is also I think, goes in understanding it as a public act of racial disciplining of these players who are so big and so strong, but also so beholden, usually to the great white coach, always to the great white owner, and that that posture of being beholden to these white authority figures is something that football projects to its commercial benefit. So when you have someone like Colin Kaepernick, yeah, he’s taking a knee against police violence and racial inequity, but it’s actually something, it hits at something much deeper, and the ripple effect from it, the Kaepernick Effect, if you will, has been so much, far beyond the issue of policing, that it set off a whole incredible series of things that were unimaginable before he took that knee. I mean, absolutely unimaginable. And I’m not talking about the bullshit like, you know, putting “end racism” in the end zone, or decals on helmets or any of the crap, I’m not talking about that.
Adam: I especially like the visual of “end racism” right above the Redskins logo.
Dave Zirin: That was lovely. But the fact that that name is no more now is a result of what Kaepernick did. I mean, bringing it into sports, I mean it is the result of the Black Lives Matter movement. That’s the indigenous activists who’ve been working on this for decades, I interviewed them, and the response unequivocally was, ‘Yeah, we’ve been doing this work and the work has mattered, but when the Black Lives Matter movement, and Kaepernick slammed into the NFL, all the old racism that they could get away with it was done.’
Nima: Yeah, well, because it needed that kind of narrative hook, right? It needed that larger gesture that, as you said, Dave, was instantly recognizable, it can mean nothing else, even if it means so many different things. There’s this core meaning of pay attention to this, because you’re actually trying to say something, and what you just mentioned about, you know, the players and the coaches and the administration, you talk about that, not only with the NFL, but also of course, at the high school level throughout this book, tell us a little bit about James Garfield High School in Seattle.
Dave Zirin: Yeah, that’s one of the good stories, and it’s a good story because you can see how a coach works with a team to actually try to educate and understand and build a degree of solidarity that extends beyond the football field. That part of the story is beautiful. But just to be clear, most of the stories in the book, involve coaches who will stab their players in the back, who will undermine them, who will make life hell for them, or will even kick them off the team, and I just wanted to point that out so people understand that there are some awful youth coaches out there, just absolutely terrible, and this is former football player named Joe Ehrmann, who does Positive Coaching Alliance, it’s his group, he says there are two kinds of coaches, the transactional and the transformational, and the transactional are just about, ‘What’s in it for me,’ and the transformational are actually trying to say what’s in it for these young people to actually grow up, and Coach Joey Thomas at Garfield was a transformational coach, and for his troubles, he got the tires slashed of his car. He was forced out of his job. He now coaches in Florida, which is pretty far from Seattle.
Adam: That’s the worst possible fate, ending up in Florida, doesn’t get much worse than that.
Dave Zirin: I mean, quite literally. It’s the worst possible fate.
Adam: Doing two days in Florida is not fun.
Dave Zirin: Yeah.
Adam: Give us some details about what happened. So what made him transformational? Explain that a little more.
Dave Zirin: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, first, for folks who don’t know Garfield, you know, Seattle’s an overwhelmingly white city, and Garfield High is like this fulcrum of Black culture, I mean, Quincy Jones went there, Jimi Hendrix went there. It’s a special place, and you had people on the football team, a couple of them start to really clue into what was happening, and then they saw Kaepernick take a knee, and they said, ‘You know, we’re gonna do this,’ and Coach Joey Thomas, he got wind of that, and he said, ‘Look, if we’re gonna do it, let’s do it as a team, and so we need to talk as a team about why it might matter to take this knee,’ and they spoke about, individual players spoke about their own families instances with violence and police brutality. The team was very mixed racially, Asian, Pacific Islander, white, Black, and it was a process of people learning from each other in a way they hadn’t before, and then Coach Joey Thomas came in with the home run cleanup swing by breaking it down for them about what is so racist about the Star Spangled Banner and what is the missing third verse? And what does that say about Francis Scott Key? And what does it say about us as a society that we’ve integrated this into our sports? And by the time they were done, everybody took a knee, and they were feted at first locally, because it’s Seattle, and there’s all these liberal pretensions of ‘Oh, you know, what a wonderful thing for Garfield to do.’ But then there was the undercurrent that then became an overcurrent, and I think it’s so interesting that learning about the backlash to Garfield that took place is that some of it yeah, was internet yahoos, some of it was people who are much scarier than that, I mentioned the slashing of the coaches tires, death threats called into the school, problems with opposing fans, but there was also an institutional backlash, and that was the forcing of Coach Thomas out of his job, which was on ridiculous charges that were later dismissed, but said just enough to try to ruin him and make him need to have to quit and start over somewhere else. So that’s the Garfield story, and there are similar stories, although it’s a very different story because this is Denby High School in Detroit, and they played in a suburban place and they got garbage thrown on them, and it led to a big brawl on the field. But that also is connected to the fact that there was a coach there named Bob Burg, Coach B., who I interviewed for the book, who had his players’ back like every step of the way, and the difference that that made on that team and in that community was huge, because when you have that kind of, in that case, institutional support, I mean, it gives a sense of just, because we got to remember what it feels like to be a teenager, and if your coach is saying that you’re trash because you took a knee, I mean, that’s gonna tear you up. Or if you have to quit the team that’s gonna tear you up, or if you feel like you look stupid, and in so many of these stories, these young people were really put through the wringer, but what was really remarkable is that none of them had any regrets about what they did even when it ended really sour and sideways. They saw that as like, ‘Hey, if it ended that badly, that only shows how important it was for me to say something in the first place.’
Adam: Right. It’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for some of these bigots. I want to talk about the Beaumont Bulls, if you forgive one last example here, I think, because again, like you said, this is about the examples not so much Kaepernick. This is Beaumont, Texas, for anyone who doesn’t know, it’s about 10 minutes from Vidor, Texas, which is basically the ground zero for the KKK, basically the border of Louisiana. Tell us about what happened with them. That did not turn out well. Well, in some sense it did, but initially, it did not. So tell us that story because I was, this book is just a series of me reading this, I mean, I don’t wanna say shocked because basically the whole arc of Citations Needed is me being shocked by these things, but the whole time I’m reading it I’m like, guys, don’t you have literally anything better to do than get upset by this? Tell us about the Beaumont Bulls.
Dave Zirin: I mean, how often do you think about the right in this country?Don’t you have anything better to do?
Adam: Literally anything better to do than get mad about this shit? Go ahead. Sorry.
Dave Zirin: Yeah. Well, the Beaumont Bulls, I mean, this was a youth team for goodness sakes. I mean, these are kids playing football, you know, some of us might have views about young kids playing tackle football, but this is Beaumont, Texas and that’s what you do, you roll right in, and you’re playing football. And several of the young people on the team started asking some very provocative questions about race and politics, very adult questions about race, racism, police violence. A lot of the adults on the team and the coach wanted to create an atmosphere where that was something that was appreciated and understood, and when they saw Kaepernick take a knee they were like, ‘Hey, this is something we should do as the Beaumont Bulls and show our solidarity with not just Colin Kaepernick, but show that us here in Beaumont, we feel like there’s a problem too with policing in this country.’ So they did that, and the response was to just literally cancel everything. The team, the league, they threw it all in the trash rather than having young children, Black, white, biracial kids taking a knee together in Texas. That’s the part that’s so threatening to them. I think it was that seeing some good old white Texas kids along with their Black young teammates taking a knee together was a little much.
Nima: Yeah, they were like, ‘Let’s shut it all down.’
Dave Zirin: Ixnay, because that’s the thing too, we talked about racial disciplining, it’s like you’re losing the control that’s essential, not just for the running of our society, but it’s essential to football.
Adam: It’s essential to football. Cheap, expendable, replaceable, highly liquid, Black labor is how you make money.
Dave Zirin: Yeah.
Nima: Well, let’s actually talk about that. Dave, not trying to say that the NBA is great, it’s not, but tell us a little bit about the differences between the reactions, you know, not only of course, at this kind of high school and local regional levels, but also from the NFL, as opposed to say the NBA, and then the Major League Baseball is also kind of like another whole weird animal here.
Dave Zirin: Well, yeah, definitely. But just to put a button on the Beaumont Bulls, the kids got to play eventually, because NFL players donated money to start a new league and get new equipment and that was a cool little moment of solidarity there.
Nima: Which I’m sure the owners were not thrilled about.
Dave Zirin: Exactly. It loses the question of discipline, basically. And when you lose that, they feel like they’ve lost everything, not just because they’re white, right-wing, billionaire psychopaths, it’s not just that, it’s that the whole operation is predicated on this insane contradiction of disposable Black labor for the purposes of creating white wealth, while at the same time extolling and elevating that Black labor, to the heights of heroes, and that’s an interesting gig. I once talked to this NFL player, who’s a good union guy named Brian Mitchell, and I said, ‘What do you say if someone says to you, why do you make too much money? Why do you make so much money and you still consider yourself a worker?’ And he said, ‘If a cook comes up to me and asks that question, I always say to the cook, what do you do for a living? You cook a steak? I’m like the cook, but I’m also the steak.’ And I always thought that that had an element of truth to it, like the level of which they’re tenderizing their own bodies.
Adam: Well, also, of course, you know, annualize it over your lifetime it comes down to about $80,000 a year.
Nima: Yeah, the average NFL career is — what? — three years?
Dave Zirin: Three years. And that’s one of the things and the lack of guaranteed contracts, is what’s connected to what allows them to have it be so conservative and authoritarian. So once you have somebody pushing against that, I mean, if you’re the person in charge, you start feeling like ‘Oh, they’re pulling a string on a sweater all of a sudden,’ I think when Kaepernick took that knee, it must have been the same feeling in NFL owners boxes what was felt like on the Montgomery City Council when people stopped taking the bus, the sense of, ‘Oh shit, this really isn’t just about public transit, is it?’
Adam: Yeah, and to be clear, for those who aren’t familiar, like Colin Kaepernick was not, this was not a bubble player. He had a QB rating that was one of the highest ever. People will try to argue he wasn’t good but he was an elite quarterback in many ways. So his blackballing was not one of these kind of bubble situations. It was very clearly a blackballing, I mean, Jon Bois has a great video on SB Nation where he basically statistically proves that it was a blackballing. Again, I know it’s not about Kaepernick, so we don’t need to get too much in the weeds, but I do want to talk about the fact that I think to some extent, maybe he assumed a level of, he realized he had a certain amount of privilege and leeway that other athletes weren’t going to be given and then very clearly it became clear that there was a greater good that had to be served, and every frustrated football fan for the next four years is looking at, you know, Nick Foles with a bad knee saying there’s absolutely no way this guy is better than fucking Colin Kaepernick, who’s at home, doing pushups and looking at, you know, while looking at a picture of, you know, Paul Tagliabue or whatever. I mean, tell us about the blackballing and how manifest it was, and then I want you to talk a bit about how in 2020, they sort of did this half-apology for it, when everybody decided they cared about racism for 20 minutes.
Dave Zirin: This actually connects to Nima’s question about the NBA, the apology in 2020 was very interesting relative to the NBA. So, I mean, starting with Kaepernick, 2016, he undergoes what is a week-in, week-out four-month protest against police brutality and racism in cities around the country, which is remarkable in and of itself, and an insider’s book that deals with it — I don’t think one will ever get written on a week-to-week basis unless Colin writes it — is something that would be really, really interesting, because, you know, it’s like, he pokes the Cuba bear when he goes to Miami, you know?
Adam: Oh, I remember that, yeah.
Dave Zirin: Yeah, I mean, he was doing things that were very politically, I think, I would argue savvy, you know, and I thought he carried himself brilliantly, and another thing that John Carlos once said to me is he said, you know, ‘I raised my fist on that metal stand for a couple of minutes, Colin Kaepernick’s been taking this knee for four months,’ and frankly that’s a long time to carry the mantle of a protest. And during that season what’s so amazing, and this would be an ESPN 30 for 30 if they weren’t in bed with the NFL, is he threw 16 touchdowns, he had only four interceptions, his wide receivers led the NFL in drops, and he also led the entire NFL in yards per carry, because he’s so fast, and I mean, this is somebody who, with the ascendance of people like, for football fans, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray, he’s definitely someone who could have had a second life in his 30s as people had a better understanding of how to deal with dual threat quarterbacks. I mean, that definitely should have been something that some franchise was like, ‘Let’s take a flyer on this guy, and see if we can make some magic,’ but instead they decided, the NFL decided, that he had more value as a ghost story to haunt young players, and that was more important than winning games. So for all their winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, I mean, that turned out to be horseshit.
Adam: They had a kind of Potemkin workout in 2019 if I remember.
Dave Zirin: Oh, yeah, but Colin, that was one of the most brilliant things Kaepernick ever did was called that out in real time. Went to the workout site and said, ‘This is absolute utter, unadulterated bullshit. So I’m going to leave this fancy stadium, and I’m going to go to the local high school,’ and he had one of his people call ahead to the high school and was like, ‘Anybody who wants to come with me and watch my workout go right ahead,’ and about seven out of 30 people who showed up, although none of the people who showed up had any actionable ability to sign him, that’s why he saw that.
Dave Zirin: And they said right away that no one could film the workout.
Adam: Yeah, they don’t want him throwing 75 yards.
Dave Zirin: Just to take it to 2020 real quick. This is the NBA tie in is, you know, after the police murder of George Floyd, you know, at first the NFL’s response was just tepid and pathetic, and it took a film that was made by NFL players, that basically, they made it themselves it wasn’t done through the union, it was done through one of their management teams, and it was led by Patrick Mahomes, who’s the most starriest of all the stars, and it called out the NFL. People should look up and see this video, in no uncertain terms, it called the NFL out, and that led Roger Goodell to issue the like, ‘Oh, we were wrong not to listen to Colin Kaepernick,’ and for for them to try to adopt much less of a punitive approach and more of what we’ve seen since then, which is like a carrot and stick approach of, you know, keeping Kaepernick out of the game, keeping Eric Reid, who is Kaepernick cohort on the 49ers out of the league. That’s the stick part, and then the carrot is of course you put “end racism” in the end zone la la la. But the connection to the NBA is that I really think Patrick Mahomes is probably one of only two players, with Tom Brady, who would never do it in a million years, who could have gotten away with doing a video like that that directly challenged the NFL, because Patrick Mahomes is, he’s too big for them to mess with at this point. As a player, you know, you’re not gonna blackball Patrick Mahomes, it would cost you way too much money to do that, and that to me is connected to the NBA because when people ask me why is the NBA different, and they give answers like, ‘Well, Adam Silver is less of an autocrat.’
Adam: No. They have a stronger union and more powerful players.
Dave Zirin: The union part is one of the issues, the guaranteed contracts is a big issue, but I also think LeBron James’ decision in 2012 that he was going to be political, and whether, you know, everyone likes/dislikes LeBron, there are a lot of critiques, we could do a whole episode about critiquing LeBron, but by by choosing to be political, he bent the league to having to accept the existence of political athletes. There was no going back from that once the league really had no choice but to applaud LeBron for doing work around Trayvon Martin’s case, for example, at that point the horse was out of the barn.
Adam: Right. So this leads us to the obvious next question, which is that of co-option and watering down because we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about how this got co-opted and watered down by very savvy marketing people, these kind of neoliberal forces. Everybody from police officers to Nancy Pelosi adopted some form of a kneel.
Nima: Have you actually seen the picture of the senators kneeling?
Dave Zirin: I have. Aren’t they wearing Kente cloth?
Adam: Yeah, I want to talk about the co-option, you cite NFL tight end Martellus Bennett saying, quote, “Kneeling in 2020 didn’t hit the same,” unquote. This is something we discuss a lot on the show with how these rather cynical forces, marketing forces, corporate forces, co-opt these aesthetics and then turn them back on these movements to the extent to which they are independent and difficult and messy, and I want to talk about the attempts to co-opt the knee, again, when I saw Jerry Jones do it I was like, oh no. This is now officially gotten way too postmodern. Talk about that and talk about what the response from those who still mean it as a protest maybe means, because again, in many ways this book is a living document, these protesters, they’re on going, it’s not like it has stopped. So talk about that if you could.
Nima: And also, because you spoke to people like Megan Rapinoe, right? Who have acted in solidarity but also are aware of the differences in their own positions.
Dave Zirin: Yeah, that’s something Megan Rapinoe really thinks about in that, you know, in the five years since Colin Kaepernick has taken his knee, he’s remained an outcast and a pariah in his sport, unable to do what he trained his whole life to do, and Megan Rapinoe has become an icon, burnished many times over, and I know some of that is her incredible play in the World Cup, but if it was Colin Kaepernick, he might not have even gotten to the World Cup because there there were feints towards punishing Rapinoe for what she did, and they pulled away from them. And so that something that she recognizes is that there was a nice slathering of privilege on the knee even that put her at a remove from what Kaepernick’s had to go through. But the knee is interesting. I’ve thought about this a lot, and just by the lived examples, context is everything. We should be merciless when it’s Jerry Jones taking a knee or Nancy Pelosi taking a knee.
Adam: Jerry Jones is when I tapped out, I was like, come on Jerry Jones, the most evil Arkansas billionaire, racist, asshole in the universe?
Dave Zirin: I just posted this thread from a couple of days ago, I posted a few days ago, about this knee that was taken in this small town as a response to all this racist Snapchatting that was going on in the school, and parents are complaining that they’re taking a knee and they’re under the thrall of critical race theory professors or teachers or whatever, and that knee at the right moment, is still a punch to the gut of every racist out there.
Adam: Yeah. That is true.
Dave Zirin: Right place, right time. I was interviewed by an Irish socialist for their journal out there about the book, and I was critical of the whole English Premier League ritual of the taking of the knee as being more in the category of the Jerry Jones thing than the upsurge thing, and he pushed back and said, you know, there are a lot of racist fans out there, and when they take the knee, it is something that’s right in their face that if you’re going to support the soccer team, who you are is actually not acceptable to us.
Adam: Yeah, it’s a fine line. It’s not always clear. Yeah.
Dave Zirin: Yeah.
Nima: When the Israeli soccer team start taking a knee then maybe that’s like, I don’t know about that.
Dave Zirin: Well, no, that, oh, God, no that that would birth at least three articles. I would have no objection to the content creation.
Nima: Yeah, exactly. So bringing it back about talking to the journalist made me think oh, yeah, right, we actually talk about media a lot on Citations Needed. Let’s talk about some of the media’s relationship with not only Kaepernick and an act that, you know, I mean, as you’ve written about numerous times, could have been just a moment that was missed, but because of intrepid journalism became something else, but then also the media backlash to not only Kaepernick’s act, but to this effect that you have written about, you know, one prime example that I’m happy to go into is David Brooks’ New York Times column from September 16, 2016, called “The Uses of Patriotism,” which starts like this, this is what two weeks after news really breaks, and David Brooks writes this in The Times, starts like this, quote:
This column is directed at all the high school football players around the country who are pulling a Kaepernick — kneeling during their pregame national anthems to protest systemic racism. I’m going to try to persuade you that what you’re doing is extremely counterproductive.
I kind of want to read the whole thing because it is unreal, but I do want to kind of throw it back to you Dave, you know, the media effect on what Colin and some of his teammates did to bring this to national attention but then also this bonkers backlash.
Dave Zirin: Yeah, that was the fight because some of that bonkers backlash is, David Brooks is one example, but a lot of it was also in the local coverage. It was really rough, and some of the backlash also birthed a whole strand of sports writing that’s pretty common now, which is like the right-wing sports writer, not the sports writer who’s right-wing, for the kind of people like we grew up —
Dave Zirin: Yeah, yeah. I mean, Al Michaels — not talking about that. I’m talking about somebody who says to themselves, ‘Hey, I see a shtick here, and I’m this right-wing troglodyte. I’m going to now cover sports, even though I don’t know anything about sports, and I’m going to do it in a way that’s like, boo — Black people.’
Nima: Right. Super sanctimonious.
Dave Zirin: Yes, and very sanctimonious, while also having your thumb on the scale for every white player, thumb on the scale for any player that’s been accused of sexual assault, any kind of position that you can take, that has a reactionary edge, you’re going to do it and use sports as a way to push that forward. And so a lot of that came out of this Kaepernick experience. This one idiot wrote a book that the picture was Trump dunking on Colin Kaepernick, and that’s wrong for so many different, not the least of which is Trump, you know, elevating.
Nima: (Laughs.) But also like maybe the wrong sport.
Adam: Yeah. I mean, and then of course, there’s the, like you said, there’s also this concern troll posture, ‘Now’s not the right time. This isn’t the right way.’ Might be a lot of the parallels. Obviously, the stakes aren’t, it’s different in certain ways, but it reminds me of like, ‘Where’s the Palestinian Gandhi? Where’s the nonviolent movement?’ When you have BDS. They’re like, ‘No, no, that’s terrorism.’ It’s like nonviolent protests, here’s a nonviolent protest, ‘No, no, no, not like that. You have to do it like this.’ So instead of going to the locker room, I’ll actually respect the flag in some way by taking a knee. ‘No, not like that.’ Sort of, there is always this infinitely regressive way you’re supposed to protest.
Nima: Right. Which is really just obedience at the end of it.
Adam: Well, right. Let’s just act like everything’s a-okay, because again, a lot of liberals took this position, like you mentioned at the beginning of the show. I want to talk a bit about that posture.
Dave Zirin: Before you do, just because you said something that is so similar to what one of the young people said to me in the book where she said, we’re always made fun of by adults for being apathetic, but after what I did, I feel like they’re saying that the one thing worse than apathy is actually doing something.
Nima: Yeah, action is always going to be way worse than apathy.
Dave Zirin: Yeah.
Adam: Well, what they want is they want you to be active in the most bourgeois sort of just performative way.
Adam: Yeah, and it’s like you said, it’s, again, the need may seem banal, and maybe even kind of low stakes for those who aren’t, again, intimate with some of the dynamics of sports on a local sort of high school, middle school level, but it is very provocative in almost all communities, because there is this kind of, which is the whole point, you know, the Black Lives Matter protests in New York used to go to people in brunch and interrupt brunch and shoppers and Disney and the whole point was to sort of say, like, there’s this inertia that you live with every day that you don’t see it, you know, you’re on the moving train, and you’re doing fine, and that we’re going to disrupt this space, and there is something so kind of, it really just brings out the worst in so many people, obviously, it’s sort of racist backlash 101, but again, and you document all this so well. One question I have is like, to what extent did this, what is the psychological effect of the people you talk to? How much are they sort of, obviously, there’s some hope and inspiration, but also how much of it just depressed the shit out of people to know that this is what their community really thought about them when they weren’t just running in touchdowns?
Dave Zirin: This is what, we talked at the start of the show about this question of optimism, and one of the things that made me optimistic when usually my posture is not so optimistic is, especially as I started writing this at the beginning of the pandemic, was the fact that they felt first and foremost, this tremendous sense of pride in what they had done, and it’s like, ‘Okay, not only was part of my community exposed as being viciously anti-Black, but I also have made new friends and new allies through stepping out there, and at least I know who, who’s on my side, and who’s not,’ and that’s empowering, you know, no more bullshit. And so there was a lot of pride in that, and then when the protests started in 2020, that pride really turned into a sense of vindication. Like ‘Yes, we were right to do it,’ and a lot of them, some of these stories are in the book, had people who were trying to tear them down several years earlier now writing them apology notes.
Dave Zirin: And that can feel really good.
Adam: I mean there were Black Lives Matter protests in Vidor, Texas or in Beaumont, Texas, that were not trivial. There were hundreds of people.
Dave Zirin: Yes.
Adam: I mean, so how much of that maybe is propelled by that, you know, it’s hard to say obviously, these things all have antecedents which have antecedents and so forth, but —
Nima: Well, yeah, but I think the point that I’ve been thinking about Dave, you certainly touch on this, is the kind of youth-driven, youthfulness and even more radical posture of the 2020 uprisings especially compared to what we saw in 2014, 2015. But this, when you kind of connect it to high school kids then moving through this Kaepernick Effect, and Trayvon being this incredible kind of touch point of the number of years earlier, that seminal event led them to during their athletic years in school, the Kaepernick Effect, and then, you know, it’s five years later, right? So these high school players are now and were last year, young adults, and so kind of you see this trajectory in such a fascinating way, and, you know, it gets back to what you were saying, you were writing this book already, and then the summer of fucking 2020 happens, you’re like, I have to talk to all these people again, right? What did you hear from them in that revisiting of this in the wake of George Floyd, during a pandemic, and a, you know, huge global crisis, what were they saying in terms of the trajectory of their own social movement making?
Dave Zirin: They were seeing themselves first on the personal level, like I said, a feeling of vindication that they were right to do what they did, and they saw it as an opportunity for them to take what they learned through the process of taking a knee, trying to find allies, trying to win teammates to their side, speaking out in assemblies afterwards, schools sometimes held assemblies to discuss the fact that a knee was taken, which is very interesting, and what it resulted in was they were like, ‘We have a set of skills now that we didn’t have before and we’re gonna put these at the service of the movement.’ Now, where this is all going to go going forward is really going to be dependent on the movement, but any movement, you know, is fortified by just a backbone of people who are going to be active, whether you have millions of people in the streets, or whether you just have a few dozen, it’s who are going to be the people in it for the long haul, and I think that these folks who I spoke with are in it for the long haul, that this is now just a part of their DNA, is that they’re going to be people who carry this tradition forward, and yeah, again, I just don’t think this generation is going to settle for the things that other generations were willing to settle for.
Adam: Well, yeah, that was one of the things I found because when I went to one of the 2020 protests, and I went to quite a few in 2014, I was obviously much younger, I was a spry 30 years old, now I’m 37, one of the things that really took me back was the youthfulness of it was, well, maybe in 2014 that was true, but the radicalism of the demands. It’s one of the reasons people got so mad at Defund the Police because it was a specific demand, not an abstraction that you could be co-opted, right? You can’t, it’s much more difficult to co-opt Abolish the Police or even to Defund the Police than it is Black Lives Matter, right? Because, you know, Colgate toothpaste can say Black Lives Matter to a certain extent, right? Defund the Police is this sort of policy prescription, which is very provocative to this day, that still solicits outrage like you wouldn’t believe, including from most Democrats, and what that showed me was that people were frustrated with the co-option and the counterinsurgency tactics used against the Ferguson uprisings, that there was a sense of urgency that seven years later basically nothing had changed. That there were some modest reforms around the margins, there were some decent police reforms, you had things like cash bail reform, there were some, I don’t want to take away from the changes totally, but it wasn’t nearly enough to match the urgency of the moment, and then that led to sort of a more realizing that you had to be more radical, you had to uprise, you had to burn shit, and I don’t want to be glib about that. I know that that’s not necessarily, that has stakes to it, but you had to sort of do more drastic tactics, and so my final question to you is, is this, which is the question we ask all our guests, which is sort of like where does it go from here? Because I think people listening say, all this sort of gray, but like, what does it mean? Now I know that activist movements are always somewhat nebulous, you know, Colin Kaepernick takes from this person who took from that person and someone took from him, like, did something in 2025, whatever, but from your experiences, especially documenting all these young activists, where do you think it kind of goes from here, especially in the context of athlete activism, which is, you know, if you believe that the point of left-wing politics is to heighten the contradictions, I can’t think of anything more contradiction-heightening than introducing radical Black politics in the context of sports, because it really does expose those forces in a way that has a lot of ROI. So where do you see that going forward? Do you think these co-option strategies have been effective, and what is maybe a way of countering the co-option efforts?
Dave Zirin: I mean, first and foremost, the wine is out of the bottle, the idea of an athlete feeling like they don’t have a place to be political, to say something political in the context of the sports world, I don’t know how they’re going to wind that back, and I’m not just talking about the pros, the high-profile stuff, but at the collegiate level, at the high school level, they feel like this is their space, and they earned it, they build it up, they are the reason the fans come out, and if they want to say something about the world, particularly if they’re a Black student in a predominantly white space, they’re going to do it. They’re not going to be made to feel uncomfortable because they want to protest. In fact, as one of the people said to me, ‘I want to make you feel uncomfortable because I want you to feel for just a moment of what it’s like for me to have to live in this community and go to this school like me, feel that for three minutes.’ I think that’s going to move forward, and I think it’s going to be the sort of thing where every time you see an instance of injustice in society, you’re going to have some athletes who have something to say about it, and that’s going to then introduce it both to a new audience of people who may not have been clued in to what was happening, and also, it’ll clue in a lot of reactionary people to backlash against them, which then of course, only proves the point that they were right to speak in the first place. So to me, what’s happening in the sports world is really a microcosm of the society because we’re so clearly headed on a collision between these fossils who are fighting for white minority rule, and these young people in a generation that’s more demographically diverse and less tolerant of intolerance than any generation in the history of the United States. So it’s Mitch McConnell’s America versus Trayvon Martin’s America, and that collision is something we need to keep a close eye on because it’s going to define politics for the next several decades.
Nima: Well, before we let you go, Dave, let us know what you are up to next. You are always working on new shit, putting out amazing new articles all the time, but what can we look for on the horizon from you?
Dave Zirin: I mean, I’m just trying to do good with this book for right now. But, you know, I’ve got some ideas, I’ve written a lot about the Olympics before, and as you are both undoubtedly aware, LA Olympics coming 2028, already hitting the city like a freight train, and I think writing, this might sound weird — it’s just an idea, and I don’t have any publisher that likes it yet, so we’ll see — but I want to I want to expose the 1984 Olympics.
Adam: Oh, that would be great.
Nima: Oh, nice.
Dave Zirin: Because it sounds weird just to say it out loud. But that’s the one that’s always held up is, you know, the ‘America’s Olympics.’ ‘The Russians weren’t even there because they were scared of Carl Lewis and Mary Lou Retton, and this young teenager named Michael Jeffrey Jordan,’ and all the crap and Reagan greeted it and all this stuff. But, you know, I saw this thing offhand in this interview with, amazing, I can’t remember who the interview was with, but it was with an older activist who talked about marching 10,000 strong in 1984 to protest what the Olympics were doing to the city, and that to me was like, wait a minute, that was like a moment where John Carlos said about the track stars raising their fist, 10,000 people marched in LA? About displacement because of the Olympics? Alright, alright, there’s got to be a story there.
Dave Zirin: We got to tell it.
Adam: For sure.
Dave Zirin: So, that’s next on the list. I’m going to expose Peter Ueberroth for all he’s worth. That’ll show him.
Nima: Perfect. Perfect. And yeah, at some point we’re going to write our wrestling book together Dave.
Dave Zirin: Oh yeah.
Nima: So gear up for that. But that will do it for this Citations Needed live interview, we of course have been joined by the great Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation magazine, host of the Edge of Sports podcast, author of numerous books including What’s My Name, Fool? and People’s History of Sports in the United States, his latest, of course, is The Kaepernick effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World, out now from the New Press. Go pick it up. Dave, thank you so much for joining us on Citations Needed.
Dave Zirin: Great to be here, and the person who marched 10,000 strong was the great writer and historian Robin Kelley.
Dave Zirin: There you go. Just to put a button on it.
Adam: Thank you.
Nima: Citation delivered.
Adam: That’s right.
Nima: Well that will do it for this live interview. Thank you everyone for joining us. Of course you can follow the show on Twitter @CitationsPod, Facebook Citations Needed, become a supporter of the show through Patreon.com/CitationsNeededPodcast. And as always, a very special shout out goes to all of our supporters on Patreon, especially our critic level supporters, we cannot do the show without you and we cannot thank you enough which is why we grovel and are extremely appreciative. But that will do it for this episode of Citations Needed. We will be back with another full length episode very soon so stay tuned but until then, I am Nima Shirazi.
Adam: I’m Adam Johnson.
Nima: Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Associate producer is Julianne Tveten. Production assistant is Trendel Lightburn. Newsletter by Marco Cartolano. Transcriptions are by Morgan McAslan. The music is by Grandaddy. Thanks again, everyone, we’ll catch you next time.
This Citations Needed live interview was recorded with a virtual audience on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 and released on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.
Transcription by Morgan McAslan.