By Religion of Sports | PRX

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Subscribers: 86
Reviews: 3

Excellent - worth your time.
 Jul 11, 2021
This isn't the first time the Steroid Era and Home Run Chase have been dissected, but this is probably the most balanced review of the dynamics at play. The host presented a well-researched, professionally produced deep dive into the subject. She included dozens of interviews will ballplayers and officials, even the politicians that tried to hold baseball accountable before Congress. This is impressive work, and a "must listen" for anyone who followed McGwire during his 1998 season.

 Jun 2, 2021

 May 17, 2021
Awesome! Lived through this and it was great to be taken back to it and hear more.


Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter from South Africa, was once considered the greatest Paralympian of all time. Running on carbon-fiber legs, he racked up gold medals, broke world records, and became known simply as The Blade Runner. He inspired millions of people around the world, and was celebrated as a hero in his home country. In 2012, he made history as the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympic Games.

Then, just six months later, he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.  

False Idol re-examines Pistorius’ rise and fall, telling the story through the eyes of the people whose lives he irrevocably changed along the way. Journalist Tim Rohan traces Pistorius’ path to infamy, deconstructs his heroic image, and remembers the life of Reeva Steenkamp, as he tries to understand how a tragedy like her death could have happened.

Episode Date
False Idol: Swart Gevaar

During his murder trial, Pistorius claimed he’d mistaken Reeva for an intruder, when he shot her in his home. He listed instances where he’d been the victim of crime. But for many South Africans, there was a coded message in Pistorius’ words –– the fear of black people invading white people’s homes. They even have a term for this fear: Swart Gevaar.

Sep 23, 2021
False Idol: Ready to Run?

Pistorius was arrested and charged with murder, and prosecutors Gerrie Nel and Andrea Johnson took the case. Nel and Johnson reviewed the crime scene, the evidence, the witness testimony, and were of the opinion that Pistorius killed Reeva on purpose. They viewed this as a case of gender-based violence, in a country where such crimes are sadly common.

Sep 16, 2021
False Idol: Reeva

In this episode, we remember the life of Reeva Steenkamp. She was an activist, a mentor, an aspiring lawyer, and a model whose career was about to take off. Her future was looking bright, when she met Pistorius in the Fall of 2012. Then three months later, he shot her dead in his home.

Sep 09, 2021
False Idol: A Loaded Gun

As Pistorius rose to fame, the media began learning more about him, and some of the details seemed … troubling. He drove at excessive speeds. He had an obsession with guns. He crashed a boat into a jetty. And the details of his private life were worse. In hindsight, it’s easier to see the warning signs we missed, or chose to overlook, along the way.

Sep 02, 2021
False Idol: Oscarmania

Pistorius was so dominant, he set his sights on a new goal: running against able-bodied athletes at the Olympic Games. Now he faced more questions, more scrutiny. Scientists wondered if the races would be fair, and Pistorius struggled to qualify. But he was buoyed by the support of his home country, South Africa, where he was considered a hero.

Aug 26, 2021
False Idol: The Blade Runner

In the early 2000s, the Paralympics were headlined by star sprinters Marlon Shirley and Brian Frasure, when suddenly a new challenger emerged –– a teenager from South Africa named Oscar Pistorius. He immediately began dominating the sport, winning medals, setting records, and signing endorsement deals. But Shirley and Frasure had questions about how this newcomer was winning all these races.       

Aug 26, 2021
False Idol: Trailer

False Idol re-examines the rise and fall of Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic sprinter who murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Journalist Tim Rohan traces Pistorius’ path to infamy, deconstructs his heroic image, and remembers the life of Steenkamp, as he tries to understand how a tragedy like her death could have happened. Launching August 26th, 2021.

Aug 12, 2021
Introducing False Idol

Joan Niesen talks with Tim Rohan, host of False Idol, the latest narrative podcast from Religion of Sports and PRX. The new series re-examines the story of Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic sprinter who killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day 2013. False Idol launches with two episodes in this feed on August 26th.

Aug 05, 2021
Crushed Bonus: The Sticky Solution

More than 100 years after banning pitchers from using foreign substances on balls, MLB is finally enforcing that rule in an effort to resurrect lagging offense. But is the league cracking down on the right culprit? In this bonus mini-episode, Joan explores the physics of ball doctoring and asks what baseball’s current scandal can tell us about the evolution of the game.

Jul 13, 2021
Religion of Sports presents: Lost in Sports

Religion of Sports and PRX present Lost In Sports, a new podcast that takes you deep into some of the greatest mysteries in sports. In this special broadcast of episode 2, host Ben Baskin takes you back to 1999, when a small apparel company named And1 released a VHS tape of streetball highlights set to a hip hop soundtrack that quickly became a worldwide craze. And1 was soon hosting games all over the world, and the players were international celebrities. But then, just as quickly as it rose, it all disappeared. Twenty years later, Ben untangles the complicated origins, unlikely rise and untimely demise of the basketball phenomenon he fell in love with as a kid.

Jun 17, 2021
Crushed: The Fallout

Baseball still feels the aftershocks of the steroid era. Has it recovered, or has it just forgotten and moved on? And what happens when a sport that's built on nostalgia ignores its own history?

May 13, 2021
Crushed: The Reckoning

In 2005, Congress forced star athletes and baseball leadership to finally confront their steroid problem on national television and answer questions on Capitol Hill. There were a lot of things the government got right that day, but some very important things it got wrong.

May 06, 2021
Crushed: The Dirty Truth

In the years after Barry Bonds was crowned home run king, baseball's steroid problem became too big to ignore. Fans began to look for someone to blame, a villain—but truth and accountability remained elusive.

Apr 29, 2021
Crushed: The Cheater's Rulebook

Baseball has always had a murky code of ethics, a rulebook that feels more like a suggestion. Did that culture pave the way for steroids? And, in baseball and in life, where do we draw the line between advancement and cheating?

Apr 22, 2021
Crushed: The Magic Shot

At the height of the steroid era, players across baseball had to decide if they should use—and reap the benefits—or stay clean. We meet two such players and follow the ripple effects of their choices.

Apr 15, 2021
Crushed: The Snoop

When reporter Steve Wilstein started asking questions about a bottle of pills in Mark McGwire’s locker, it set off a chain reaction that would cast doubt on the home run record and the power that had come to define baseball.

Apr 08, 2021
Crushed: The Feel-Good Story

What happens when your love of a sport is built on a major-league lie? Sportswriter Joan Niesen was a kid in St. Louis in the summer of 1998, when the home run race made baseball magic. Mark McGwire was her favorite player, and she tracked his every move that season as he chased baseball immortality. But the spectacle of that summer was not what it seemed. McGwire and countless other players had been using anabolic steroids for years. Now, Joan is revisiting the steroid era to untangle the truth from its many myths and search for answers. What happens when our heroes let us down? What can those years tell us about sports culture in America? And what is the legacy of baseball’s farthest-reaching scandal?

Apr 01, 2021
Crushed: Trailer

Sportswriter Joan Niesen is revisiting the steroid era to untangle its truth from the many myths, examine the legacy of baseball’s farthest-reaching scandal, and explore what it tells us about sports culture in America. Launching on April 1, Opening Day 2021.

Mar 24, 2021