With athletes starting to using their platforms to advocate for equality and social justice, many fans have formed the narrative that athletes should just “stick to sports.” Many athletes have not been shy in relaying their opinions on political or social issues. The most recent to do so was none other than possibly the biggest athlete on the planet, Lebron James.
In a recent interview on the “Uninterrupted” podcast with Cari Champion and fellow superstar Kevin Durant, James said the following regarding President Donald Trump: “The number one job in America, the appointed person, is someone who doesn’t understand the people. And really don’t give a (expletive) about the people.” This isn’t the first time Lebron has voiced his displeasure with the current president, calling him a “bum” in a tweet last year.
These comments didn’t fare well with Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham who called Lebron’s take “barely intelligible” and told the three time champion to “shut up and dribble.” This brought back the “stick to sports” debate in a major way. But my question is, why is there a need for the debate in the first place?
Athletes put their body on the line day in and day out and sacrifice time with their friends and family to excel in the game they play. While it’s true these players are getting paid millions, does that take away their first amendment rights?
These superstars are role models to kids across the globe and showing them that it’s okay to talk about hot button issues and showing such compassion for others is something that everyone should get behind. The development of players taking action and engaging in protests throughout the world of professional sports can spark the conversations needed to vastly impact our future.