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News & Features » April 2016 » Introducing Edge of Sports

Introducing Edge of Sports

This week, we’re delighted to introduce our new imprint, Edge of Sports. Curated by political sportswriter Dave Zirin (the Nation), the Edge of Sports titles will address issues across many different sports—football, basketball, swimming, tennis, etc.—and at both the professional and nonprofessional/collegiate levels. Furthermore, Zirin brings to the table select stories of athletes’ journeys and what they are facing and how they evolve both in their sport as well as against the greater backdrop of one’s life’s odyssey.

In advance of the Olympics this summer, we’re launching our new sports imprint this month with Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian, a dramatic memoir by Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin and journalist Constantine Markides. And be on the lookout later this year for Fair Play: How LGBT Athletes Are Claiming Their Rightful Place in Sports by Cyd Zeigler and Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape by Jessica Luther.

Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian by Anthony Ervin and Constantine Markides

Every four years in the Olympic cycle the surge of national interest in swimming grows, and with it a desire to be captivated by its stars. This book tells the dramatic, surprising, and sometimes provocative path that Anthony Ervin has taken to become one of those captivating Olympic heroes. Not your typical sports memoir, Chasing Water also contains arresting black-and-white drawings and a graphic story extra, as well as an inventive and mercurial narrative style that morphs chapter by chapter to reflect Ervin’s restless, multifaceted life.

Ervin won a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games at the age of nineteen. He is an athlete branded with a slew of titles including being the first US Olympic swimmer of African American descent, along with Jewish heritage, who also grew up with Tourette’s syndrome. He shocked the sporting world by retiring soon after claiming two world titles following the 2000 Olympics. Auctioning off his gold medal for charity, he set off on a part spiritual quest, part self-destructive bender that involved Zen temples, fast motorcycles, tattoo parlors, and rock ’n’ roll bands. Then Ervin resurfaced in 2012 to not only make the US Olympic team twelve years after his first appearance, but to continue his career by swimming faster than ever before, and faster than anyone else. He is currently training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.


Fair Play: How LGBT Athletes Are Claiming Their Rightful Place in Sports by Cyd Zeigler


When Cyd Zeigler started writing about LGBT sports issues in 1999, no one wanted to talk about them. Today, this is a central conversation in American society that reverberates throughout the sports world and beyond.

In Fair Play, Zeigler tells the story of how sports have transformed for LGBT athletes, diving into key moments and issues that have shaped sports for LGBT people today. He shares intimate behind-the-scenes details about various athletes and stories—including NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox, and NFL hopeful Michael Sam, among others—along with contextual insights about elite sports, including the overhyped “distraction” myth surrounding gay athletes.

Always the forward-thinker, Zeigler maps out the necessary steps to complete sports’ transformation and fully open athletics to LGBT people.


Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape by Jessica Luther

Football teams create playbooks, in which they draw up the plays they will use on the field. If all goes well, the large amount of work that goes into a single play suddenly looks like a natural flow of bodies moving in unison that results in the movement of the ball down the field or the successful stop of the other team’s offense.

Playbooks are how teams work and why they win.

This book is about a different kind of playbook. Over the last three years, sexual assault on college campuses has been a hot topic as people are wondering aloud and often about it, especially when it involves star football players. Unsportsmanlike Conduct explores that playbook: the one coaches, teams, universities, police, communities, the media, and fans seem to follow whenever a college football player is accused of sexual assault. It’s a deep dive into how different institutions—the NCAA, athletic departments, universities, the media—run the same plays over and over again when these stories break. If everyone runs their plays well, scrutiny dies down quickly, no institution ever has to change how it operates, and the evaporation of these cases into nothingness looks natural. In short, this playbook is why nothing ever changes.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct unpacks this societal playbook piece by piece, and not only advocates that we destroy the old plays, but also suggests we replace them with ones that will force us to finally do something about this issue.

Posted: Apr 6, 2016

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