Dave Zirin

Never have I witnessed a gap between the mainstream media and public opinion quite like the first 24 hours since the death of Margaret Thatcher.

While both the press and President Barack Obama were uttering tearful remembrances, thousands took to the streets of the UK and beyond to celebrate. Immediately, there were strong condemnations of what were called "death parties," described as "tasteless", "horrible," and "beneath all human decency""

The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on March 5 will mean unseemly celebration on the right and unending debate on the left. Both reflect the towering legacy of Chavismo and how it challenged the global free market orthodoxy of the Washington consensus.

Less discussed will be that the passing of Chavez will also provoke unbridled joy in the corridors of power of Major League Baseball (MLB).

A professional athlete; a home with an arsenal of firearms; a dead young woman involved in a long-term relationship with her killer.

In November, her name was Kasanda Perkins and the man who shot her was Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Now her name is Reeva Steenkamp, killed by Olympic sprinter and double amputee Oscar “the Blade Runner” Pistorius.

If you want to understand why Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has declared a “state of emergency” or if you want to understand why the country’s defence minister warned on January 29 of “the collapse of the state”, you first need to understand the soccer fan clubs in Egypt - otherwise known as the “ultras” - and the role they played in the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Let's start with a fact. On November 16, the Israeli Air Force bombed the 10,000-seat Palestine Stadium “into ruins”. The stadium also headquartered the centre for youth sports programs throughout the Gaza Strip.

This is the second time Israel has flattened the facility. The first was in 2006 and the people of Gaza have spent the past six years rebuilding the fields, stands and offices to keep the national soccer team as well as club sports alive in the region.

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In an act as appropriate as it is overdue, the Australian parliament began debating issuing an official state apology on August 20 to the country's late, great sprinter Peter Norman.

Norman won the 200-meter silver medal at the 1968 Olympics, but that is not why he is either remembered or owed apologies.

The spectacle of the 2012 London Olympics should be subtitled “The Bashing of the Chinese Athlete”.

On August 8, Andrew Jacobs of the New York Times published a much-discussed piece called “Heavy burden on athletes takes joy away from China's Olympic success”.

All kinds of “concerns” were raised about the toll “the nation's draconian sports system” is taking on the country's athletes.

The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a self-appointed "neighborhood watch captain" has provoked anguish, rage and now, at long last, resistance.

We've seen rallies, demonstrations and walkouts at dozens upon dozens of high schools in Florida alone.

Even more remarkably, this resistance has found expression in the world of sports. An impressive group of NBA players, from Carmelo Anthony to Steve Nash to the leaders of the NBA Players Association, have spoken out and called for justice.

When fist-raising 1968 Olympian Dr John Carlos and I wrote his memoir, The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World, we didn't exactly expect the publishing date to coincide with a mass national protest movement for economic and social justice.

I've now heard about 100 variations of the joke: "It was really smart of your publisher to plan this whole 'Occupy' movement with your book release." It's an obvious comment, given that Carlos and I have made sure to visit every Occupy encampment we can on our national book tour.

The Women's World Cup proved to be a sparkling oasis amid the most arid section of the sports calendar.

The football tournament provided a series of non-stop thrills, culminating with Japan's heart-palpitating final victory against the US, winning 3-1 on penalty kicks after extra time finished with the game tied at 2-2.

Star US player Abby Wambach is no doubt hurting, but I hope the forward with the skull of steel realizes that she was absolutely correct when she said before the final: "It's gonna be awesome."

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