The Role of Politics in Sports Today

Michael Angee, Design Editor

Throughout 2020’s hardships, social issues have dominated the news cycle, social media and everyday life. Through professional sports, athletes can utilize their platforms to spread awareness of prominent social and political issues. 

While viewers determine whether or not they listen to these messages, many athletes share their loud and proud stances with the world regardless. 

This summer had the the most notable example of players presenting their opinions to the world in the National Basketball Association Bubble, located in Orlando, Florida. Officials in the bubble allowed players to display social justice messages on the back of their jerseys if they wanted to. 

The NBA Bubble served as the isolation zone for players and team staff when the NBA commenced in Aug. 2020 after COVID-19 hit the sports world in Mar. 2020. 

The majority of players used this option to spread awareness about police brutality, with some promoting the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Through their huge following provided by social media, many players have broadcast their opinions on many matters, including the importance of voting. 

NBA players such as  Lebron James use their platforms to broadcast messages they believe can better society. 

The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, James, is regarded as one of the most influential athletes in the world and his words have the potential to make a difference.

James has long advocated for human rights and social justice through his social media and actions.

James teamed up with other athletes and entertainers following the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd. They banded together to create the “More Than A Vote” nonprofit organization in order to fight against voter suppression by educating people on social matters. 

Although athletes’ activism occurred in the past, the most recent surge of players speaking out for what the issues they believe in was initially sparked by Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem on Sept. 1, 2016. 

This marked a historic day for the National Football League, NFL players and the American people, as Kaepernick’s act sparked much controversy and mixed reactions it even caused the 49ers quarterback his position on the team by the end of the season. 

But in Kaepernick’s eyes, it is worth it. His actions shone a new light on systemic racism in America. As the player stated in a 2018 Tweet, “Believe in something, even if it means losing everything.” 

The activism of athletes should not be overlooked as they are some of the most influential people in the world with many watching them. Politics in sports can be used in a very progressive and informative manner.