Athletes’ Roles in Politics

An increasingly common trend in the world of sports in recent years has been professional athletes speaking out on political and social justice issues, prompting varied mixed reactions from sports fans.


Carson Bohnet

Throughout sports history, many professional athletes have spoken up about their political views and standpoints. Many people support these players’ decisions to fight for what they believe in, but some feel that politics is a subject that athletes should stay away from.

On Aug. 30, 2010, a well-known baseball player named Albert Pujols attended the Restoring Honor rally held in Washington, D.C. Pujols participated in this rally against Arizona’s anti-immigrant racial profiling law SB 1070.

Many people supported Pujols’ decision to speak up, but many didn’t. One such dissenter, a well-known political commentator, and radio host Glenn Beck said [the protest was[ “an open dishonor to Dr. King,” since it was the same day and location of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Another professional athlete who has spoken up and done incredible things for the sports industry would be Jackie Robinson. Robinson was the first African-American athlete to play in the MLB, and he broke the color barrier in sports.

Today, many well-known athletes express their views on race and politics.

In the preseason of the NFL’s 2016 season, 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem to speak up against racial injustice and to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

“To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” Kaepernick said.

Many people saw this as extremely disrespectful, but others stood with Kaepernick in his choice to speak up against racial injustice. This act quickly became a movement in the NFL, and many players felt inspired to speak up against all racial injustices.

The NBA has also played a considerable role in the fight for justice and has worked with the Black Lives Matter movement to spread awareness.

The NBA recently allowed players to put a word on the back of their jerseys that resembles the fight for racial justice. Today, many athletes are calling out racial injustices.

Professional athletes play a significant role in the political world and influence many people. They have a platform to reach thousands of people and therefore cause change.