My New Hero
Wow this guy is my new hero!
For pictures, which only reinforce this man's heroically comic nature:http://www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=04/11/22/7100794
By Dave McKenna
Washington City Paper, December 10, 2004http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com
Adam Eidinger isn’t a sportsman. His only
athletic claim to fame, until recently, was being
Curtis Martin’s study partner in an SAT
preparatory course when both attended
Pittsburgh’s Taylor Allderdice High School.
Martin, the school’s superstar running back, grew
up to be a professional football player.
Eidinger, student-body president of its class of
1992, grew up to be, well, a professional pain in
But for all his adolescent bookishness, Eidinger
has been all over Sports Illustrated’s pages and
ESPN screens lately. He’s the guy who was
wrestled away from the podium at Union Station
shouting anti-stadium slogans and waving a big
sign (“Stop the $614 Million Giveaway!”) during
the new baseball team’s naming-announcement press
conference a few weeks ago.
He promises he didn’t show up at the event
intending to make much of a fuss, let alone
grapple with baseball publicist Charlie Brotman,
D.C. Councilmember Harold Brazil, and the cops on
his way out the door. But then organizers hung a
pitch over the middle of the plate, so Eidinger
swung for the fences.
“I was just going to bring a sign,” Eidinger
says. “But everybody was just standing around,
and then I saw the microphone, and nobody was
using it. I figured I might as well use it.”
Brotman, as a former publicist for ring giants
Sugar Ray Leonard, Don King, and Bob Arum, has
seen his share of press conferences turn into
melees. But he’d never found himself in the
middle of such a scrum before his bout with
Eidinger. And though the flack in him appreciates
the publicity garnered by the event, Brotman says
he’s not going to invite Eidinger to RFK to throw
out the first punch when the Washington
Nationals’ season commences.
“I think I got away with a draw, and now I’m
retiring,” says Brotman, the septuagenarian who
already has a poster of the Union Station
brouhaha in his office. “There’s not going to be
Eidinger’s antics made essentially every
newspaper and news channel in this country. But
he didn’t stick around to enjoy the notoriety
that came with so publicly peeing on baseball’s
parade. Hours after being interrogated by police
and let go—“They have two years to press charges,
but there’s been nothing yet,” he says—Eidinger
got on a plane with his wife and infant daughter
and flew to Paris.
The European trip was a long-planned outing built
around his great-uncle’s being honored, along
with other U.S. servicemen, by the French
government for helping to liberate France from
Nazi occupiers during World War II.
But as soon as he returned to our shores a week
later, Eidinger learned about the fuss. And loved
“Oh my god, the response has been unbelievable,”
he says. “I’m hearing from all over the world
about this, really. Friends from the West Coast
who don’t even care about the East Coast are
telling me they saw me on their local news. Some
old friends are telling me I looked fat, but
everybody loved it.”
Eidinger knows he wouldn’t fare well against,
say, his old classmate Martin or any other
athlete of that ilk in a physical confrontation.
But in today’s America, being a thorn in the
establishment’s side, as Eidinger so clearly is,
requires as least as much intestinal fortitude as
it does to strap on a football helmet for a
living. His tirades, showboaty as they are—he’s
nicknamed “Red Light Eidinger” by some D.C.
journalists for knowing when TV cameras are
rolling—allow less courageous folks to stay off
the Man’s radar.
An active Green Party promoter and occasional
candidate for public office, Eidinger had his
home visited by the Metropolitan Police
Department while planning protests against the
World Trade Organization in the spring of 2000.
Yet he still flaunts his role in organizing those
demonstrations, as well as the gathering against
George W. Bush that made a charade of the
Inauguration Day parade along Pennsylvania Avenue
in 2001. And he promises to strike an even bigger
blow against the empire come Jan. 20, 2005.
“Nobody except the people who were there knew how
successful that inauguration protest was until
Michael Moore put it in his movie,” says
Eidinger, who always makes a point of advocating
nonviolence. “And we’re going to turn it into a
drag race down Pennsylvania Avenue again next
He’s flown D.C. flags made entirely of hemp to
call attention to the District’s lack of
statehood. And he was jailed last year for
showing up at Speaker of the House of
Representatives Dennis Hastert’s office and
refusing to leave, to promote the same issue.
But his turn at bat at Union Station got him more
attention than any of his more righteous efforts.
“Of all the events I’ve ever been a part of, no
single act has ever gotten this much attention,”
he says. “My wife told me it’s the best protest
of my life.”
He sees the grandstand he took at Union Station
as being very consistent with his previous
protests, particularly the anti-WTO efforts.
“I look forward to going to Opening Day at RFK,”
he says. “So this isn’t about baseball. It’s all
about protesting corporate greed. I really see
this fight as an extension of the globalization
fight. It’s about private interests abusing the
public. This stadium is a corporate subsidy. As a
citizen who cares, I don’t want to see this
shoved down our throats on the backs of a
lame-duck city council. Protest was never
supposed to be something sedentary, something
that had to be cleared by the government. I’ve
learned that one person being disruptive will be
more effective than 100,000 people showing up in
some orderly sort of march. People need
confrontation, they need drama, or the issue will
be ignored. I expressed through physical direct
action the feelings of millions of Americans:
that we’re being railroaded by these sports
Eidinger put together a tape of TV clips of the
Union Station throwdown and brought it to
Pittsburgh last weekend for a large family
gathering celebrating Hanukkah. While wearing his
brand-new licensed Nationals baseball
cap—complete with “No Taxes for Baseball”
Magic-Markered on the brim—he previewed his
greatest-hits compilation for his kin.
All his relatives, even the sports nuts and the
right-wingers who have long tagged him as the
family’s “Commie,” laughed at his antics, and
came away fully in support of the efforts to stop
the stadium deal.
Better yet, they gave him gifts that could be
used in future forays into civil disobedience.
“I got a nice video camera,” he says. “I think my
family wants me to use it to film the baby. But
it’ll be handy at protests.” —Dave McKenna