I need to make it clear that I think a conversation around athletes and exploitation really needs to be had. This has come back to me especially with regard to football where these guys may well be risking their lives. I don't reject that conversation out of hand.
But much like I reject lazy indictments of patriotism, I (perhaps more strongly) reject lazy invocations of slaveholding. Longtime followers of this blog probably have some idea why, and maybe I'm taking it too personal. It just strikes that a sloppy comparison between labor issues in pro sports and slavery demeans both. The case for the former is not so weak that it requires the brandishing of the latter.
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is a national correspondent for The Atlantic
, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of The Beautiful Struggle
, Between the World and Me,
and We Were Eight Years in Power