Switch on the telly at the moment and it’s sport, sport, sport.
If you still can’t get enough of watching highly-paid people play with balls – or run inordinately fast, as per the upcoming Commonwealth Games – check out these sports podcasts which I guarantee are interesting even to those who’d rather watch paint dry than another pundit.
Legacy of Speed
Little did Colin Kaepernick and his 49ers teammate Eric Reid know in 2016 when choosing to kneel during the national anthem, in peaceful protest at racial inequality and police brutality, it’d become a permanent fixture of competitive sporting events around the world.
The solidarity gesture’s impact, six years on, is debatable, but its lineage traces back to 1968 when American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos became famous as much for their Black Power salute at the Olympics in Mexico as for their gold and bronze medals (Smith insisted later that their raised fists were for human rights in general).
Malcolm Gladwell tells their story on Legacy of Speed, within the context of the era. Ultimately their activism cost Smith and Carlos their careers: it wasn’t until 2016 that the Olympics made them ambassadors for the US team in Rio.
Quite Unsuitable for Females
Acast, Apple, Spotify
It’s unclear why Quite Unsuitable for Females isn’t running during the women’s Euros. Still, as a production by the UK’s National Football Museum, its aim of whetting appetites ahead of the tournament is timeless. The five-episode series is named after a directive by the FA in 1921, stating “the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged”.
Its four hosts chat to ex-pros and historians, and dig into the museum’s archives to discover forgotten heroes, such as super-striker Lily Parr, whose team Dick, Kerr Ladies, drew enormous crowds: in 1920 – 53,000 football fans were at Everton’s Goodison Park stadium to watch them play St Helen’s Ladies, with 12,000 outside, hoping to gain entry.
So what did the FA do? It banned women from playing major venues the following year.
Sport’s Strangest Crimes
Apple, BBC Sounds, Spotify
Serial podcaster Alice Devine (My Dad Made a Porno, British Scandal) scores a hat-trick with BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sport’s Strangest Crimes: The Trillion Dollar Conman, which details the bonkers story of Notts County, whose ill fortunes were expected to be turned around by a Bahraini-backed windfall in 2009, via shady mastermind Russell King.
With six bingeable, 30-minute episodes, you could easily forget to stop for half-time.