Spotlighting Social Issues In Sports Is Not Just OK, It Should Be Encouraged

Spotlighting Social Issues In Sports Is Not Just OK, It Should Be Encouraged

If we can highlight social issues everywhere else, then why not on the court too?


For a long time, I was strongly against athletes bringing social issues into sports. I thought that athletes bringing social issues into their own sports was similar to anyone in an office job going off about the same topics at their desks.

I began to wrestle with the idea once LeBron started with his "More Than An Athlete" statement, and since then, have had a change of heart.

I think that athletes bringing their own perspectives on social issues to sports is a good thing, and here's why:

Unlike people who work regular 9-5 jobs, athletes have a voice that reaches millions of people. It seems in today's social climate, people always talk about how if there was a dialogue between sides, things would be better. Well, athletes offer much-needed dialogue, it's just how people respond that can put things into a negative light.

For example, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat down with Green Beret Nate Boyer and was able to have an extremely productive conversation on the way that Kaepernick would protest social injustice in America. While I don't necessarily agree with Kaepernick, I think that an athlete taking a stand and then having a dialogue with other people with a different perspective is the proper way to conduct opinions.

The other reason why social issues should be in sports is that they bring meaning and personality to the individuals that play such sports.

I'm not saying that players who remain quiet about issues aren't meaningful, but the ones that voice their opinions give fans and other viewers the ability to see their personalities come to life during an event.

Two-time NFL MVP and super bowl XLV champion Aaron Rodgers may not speak much on social issues, but it seems like what he has said translates to the way he carries himself on the field.

On many things, Rodgers chooses to remain stoic and keep his opinions to himself. I think most people who play Rodgers on Sundays would say that he carries himself like that on the field, and with that, is able to force people to guess what his next move is.

Though, the one time he did break his silence, he expressed how NFL teams should just stay in the locker room for the national anthem like they used to. After this statement, I watched Rodgers during the national anthem the next few games. Like his vague stance, he also gave a mysterious front during the anthem. He stood neutrally, with a blank expression on his face, arms at his side, not showing any kind of support or distaste towards the anthem, just a neutral personality. Much like that of his on the field.

On the other hand, take an outspoken personality such as LeBron James. James has continued to speak out against social injustices and continues to speak his own thoughts and opinions, which is a personality that comes to the court whenever he plays. If you watch a LeBron game for 5 minutes you can see LeBron sharing opinions with coaches, refs and players alike. He never fails to voice his opinion on a bad call or go crazy after an And-1, showing that same outspokenness he has off the court.

Without social issues in sports, many people would stay comfortable in their perspectives. Athletes taking a stand challenges people to think critically and question their own perspectives on various topics, which in turn may create a more chaotic environment, but one of dialogue that must be had.

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7 Struggles Of A Girl Who Understands Sports

Other girls just don't get it.

I love sports.

I live for the time of the year when football season and basketball season overlap so I can watch my two favorite sports at the same time. However, as any other girl that likes sports knows, there are a few different struggles that we experience on a day-to-day basis.

1. People won't believe you.

I've gotten very accustomed to the “look" people give you when you tell them you like to watch sports. It's a look that reeks of disbelief. I'm sorry I don't know the blood type of the former coach's oldest son. You'll just have to learn to let it go... but yes, I do watch sports.

2. People will try to explain the game to you.

Yes, I know that was a sack. Yes, I see that it's a fourth down. Yes, I know what foul that was. Yes, they are about to take a free throw. Please stop talking while I watch my team play. Thanks for trying to keep me updated, though.

SEE ALSO: 47 Things All Female Athletes Have Said

3. Guys will think you are trying to impress them.

Dude, stop flirting with me while the game is on. Don't block the TV. I need to see this. I could care less about you. My team is playing.

4. Your girlfriends will never care about sports as much as you do.

You will have to beg and grovel just to get them to watch the game with you. Even then, either they won't pay attention, or they will ask you what's going on every couple of minutes.

5. No one finds it acceptable when you yell at the TV.

My dad yelled at the TV during football games when I was growing up. My guy friends do it. But the minute I open my mouth when my team starts losing, people start staring at me and silently begging me to act more like a lady.

6. Women's' sports apparel is awful.

I get asked on a regular basis when shopping for team apparel, “Do you need me to show you where the women's stuff is?" No, no, nope, absolutely not. I would much prefer not to run around with rhinestones on my chest or in a pink football jersey. I'm cringing at the thought.

7. You turn into a child when your team loses.

No, it is not my time of the month. You know good and well my team just lost. Don't speak. I'm going to my room to lie down under my baby blanket and eat chocolate ice cream. It's just too much.

Cover Image Credit: Gator County Photos

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The Stress Of Searching For The Perfect Internship, As Told By College Students

College students need to start getting professional experience sooner or later, why not now?


One of the most stressful questions to ask a college student is "What are you doing this summer?" The search for a summer internship is relentless, even if you start the process earlier than others. But it is not the reality of having a summer internship that stresses college students so much, but rather the unrealistic expectations associated with such internship and other professional opportunities.

For example, as an undergraduate student interested in law, most law firms do not usually offer many internship positions for undergraduate students, especially if you are entering your sophomore or junior year. Additionally, most internships require multiple years of experience in that specific career field in order to qualify for an interview. Yet, how can years of previous experience be automatically expected when most undergraduate students are unsure of what career path they want to pursue? Some undergraduate students do not even have a specific major let alone a binding career plan for themselves.

When companies tirelessly demand these unrealistic expectations of undergraduate students, specifically underclassmen, their list of requirements worsen the concerning levels of stress and anxiety amongst college students. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 61% of college students who seek counseling services report being affected by anxiety, 49% to depression, and 45% to stress. Because stress and anxiety levels for college students are increasing at unprecedented rates, the pressures and frustration of landing the perfect summer internship only negatively contribute to these statistics.

As a result, any company, corporation, firm, etc. offering internship positions to college students need to acknowledge the effects of their job descriptions and guidelines on an undergraduate student's mental stability. Furthermore, companies must improve their standards for internship positions in order to grant undergraduate students first-hand experience that will gradually expand their knowledge of the career field of their choice. Officials responsible for reading and reviewing internship applications should considerably and realistically review the applications of undergraduate college students. These students have to gain professional experience in their career field sooner or later, so why not now?

Additionally, the frantic search for a summer internship perpetuates false expectations for an undergraduate's resume. Nowadays, college students are expected to be over-involved in various organizations. These extracurriculars, whether they be leadership positions, work-study options, or internships all contribute towards the image of the "perfect resume". This picture-perfect resume perpetuates the unrealistic expectations for undergraduate students, emphasizing their already high levels of stress and anxiety.

Realistically, a freshman or sophomore in college lacks years of experience working in their career field, but these students should not feel stressed or anxious about the lack of experience represented on their resume. There is a way to promote healthy competition as long as that competition is realistic. Underclassmen should not feel stress because they do not have the same resume as upperclassmen.

In moments of stress, college students need to realize what expectations are within their reach. Having multiple years of experience in their career fields by their sophomore year of college is extremely unlikely for underclassmen. However, students are not wholly responsible for recognizing this during their internship and job search. Companies, corporations, and hiring officials should be responsible for addressing realistic expectations for internship candidates. This recognition will address rising levels of stress and aniety amongst college students, spreading awareness about growing mental stability concerns.

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