BLOODY SUNDAYS: Inside the Dazzling, Rough-and-Tumble World of the NFL

Michael Freeman, Author, Mike Freeman, Author . HarperCollins $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-008919-1

Using a structure similar to George Will's Men at Work, Freeman dedicates sections of his new book to coaches, players and executives, employing their stories as jumping off points to discuss the inner working of the NFL. Employing his insider connections and investigative journalism skills, Freeman, who covers football for the New York Times, doesn't shy away from the critical issues facing the league, such as a financial system that can leave players with little money and tenuous job security or the high-profile domestic abuse cases that have become all too common among the league's players in recent years. He explores not only the health risks to players who use their bodies as battering rams but also the health issues facing workaholic NFL coaches. Given America's obsession with celebrities' personal lives, the book's most stunning revelation comes from Steven Thompson (an alias), a gay NFL player who claims there are currently "100 to 200 gay and bisexual" players in the league. Freeman reports on all these issues with passion and compassion, almost always giving thoughtful consideration to both sides of the story while also suggesting viable solutions to the league's problems. Freeman's only fumble is his "99 Reasons Why Football Is Better Than Baseball," an indication that ubiquitous list journalism has made the jump from magazines to books. Still, Freeman's courage to tackle the sport's biggest issues and his insider's expertise make this a must read for football fanatics coast to coast. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/18/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 288 pages - 978-0-06-008918-4
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-203004-7
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-06-073931-7
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