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Athletes speaking up in support of Black Lives Matters

Athletes speaking up in support of Black Lives Matters

Athletes speaking up in support of Black Lives Matters
July 09
17:53 2020

Throughout the last month, we have seen extremely influential people use their platforms to make a statement on police brutality and racial injustice. Players from the NBA and NFL, along with other professional sports like NASCAR, have used their voice and influence to make sure that voices are heard and changes are made.

In the NFL, a video was posted a few weeks ago, which can be found here, showing marquee players like Patrick Mahomes and Ezekiel Elliot talking about the injustices done to those that have fallen victim to police brutality. Headline players, that are on ads for major companies everywhere, speaking out and taking a stand is exactly what people of their influence need to be doing. If someone sees a player like Mahomes, who is arguably the poster child of the NFL, speaking his mind and making sure that his voice is heard, there can be major changes.

Back when Colin Kaepernick protested police brutality, during the national anthem, the NFL did not have his back in the slightest. There were videos of “fans” burning his jerseys, and he received numerous death threats. Strength comes in numbers, and now the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, has come out to say he supports the Black Lives Matter movement. It is strange to see someone like Goodell change his stance so quickly, and by doing so he seems disingenuous and that he is only trying to keep everyone happy, but regardless of that, the players took control of the situation and let their voices be heard. 

In the National Basketball Association, LeBron James, who is arguably the most influential person in sports, has made his voice heard, and plenty of players are following as well. The best part of James using his platform is that he has such a big reach. He is constantly on social media letting his voice be heard. Back in 2018, journalist Laura Ingraham told James that he should not speak on politics and that he should just “shut up and dribble”. Athletes are people too, and they have a huge influence on today’s youth. People that tell athletes to stick to their respective sports are normally the ones that line themselves with the oppressor. That same journalist praised New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees for saying he would never disrespect the flag. It is funny to see how openly hypocritical someone will be if it lines up with their political views. People like James using their voice and social media could inspire thousands of people to start using their voice too, and it is a perfect use of their platform.

Most recently, NASCAR has taken several ginormous moves in the right direction. Driver Bubba Wallace, who happens to be the only driver of color, designed his car to honor the Black Lives Matter movement (which can be seen here). NASCAR also completely banned the presence of Confederate flags during their events. These major changes are ones that should have been made a long time ago, but the fact that they are happening shows that the peaceful protests are effective and the voices are being heard.

Athletes have one of the most influential jobs in the world, and their ability to convey their messages with their fans is one of the most important jobs they have. Everyone sees LeBron James and Patrick Mahomes stand up for what they believe in, and it suddenly turns into a domino effect of people tired of being silenced. There is still a lot of work to be done, but these athletes are moving things in the right direction.

Featured Illustration: Srinidhi Shukla

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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