05.16.13 — Professor Roger Abrams’ latest book, Playing Tough: The World of Sports and Politics, is an entertaining and thoroughly enlightening look at the critical role that sports have played in politics and history.

“Politics and sports have long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship,” says Abrams. “From the Coliseum of ancient Rome to the Coliseum of modern Los Angeles, gladiators have plied their trade on publicly financed fields of glory. Governments have always sought legitimacy by entertaining the general public with sports. At the same time, entrepreneurs seeking profit by providing sports entertainment have long tapped the public treasury. Sports have always served as a critical variable in the political equation.”

In this book, Abrams shows both the positive and the negative ways in which sports and politics have coalesced, from the rabid nationalism of the 1936 Nazi Olympics, the political grudge match of the Louis and Schmeling fights, and the “futbol war” between Honduras and Costa Rica to the inspiring stories of Nelson Mandela's nation-building using rugby and Muhammad Ali’s brave antiwar stance, which nearly cost him his career. Abrams chronicles the profoundly creative and destructive influence that sports have on the political life of our nation and the world.

A leader in the field of sports law, Abrams is the author of six books on the business and history of sports, including Sports Justice: The Law and the Business of Sports; Legal Bases: Baseball and the Law; and The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903.