Social Change and Sports

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On September 1st, our very own president, Donald Trump, tweeted about the NBA. When I first read it, it didn’t sit right with me. Although everything that Trump tweets seems like nonsense, including this particular tweet, I couldn’t get it off of my mind. Mr. Trump stated,

“People are tired of watching the highly political NBA.”

Off the bat, it sounded silly. Personally, I am not tired of the NBA; other peers of mine do not seem tired of the NBA. He continued to say,

“I hope football and baseball are watching and learning because the same thing will be happening to them.”

At this point in the tweet, a question arises: what is your point Mr. Trump? Then one phrase really hits,

“Stand tall for our country and our flag!!!!”

You can’t help but cringe after reading a tweet from Trump. You can’t help but question if he is being serious. The sad part? He is being dead serious.

A 29 year old black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake, was shot several times in the back. He was unarmed. In response to this shooting, a few athletes have shown that they will no longer stand for the actions of police; or for racism. So, our president clearly seems to be speaking out against NBA teams for their decisions not to play. But, why doesn’t Trump feel like a change needs to be made? Why does he look down on athletes that use their voices for social change? Two great questions that continue to go unanswered.

At first it was the Milwaukee Bucks. Then it was the Lakers, and then the Clippers. It caused an uproar; a lot of disagreements. It also pushed the WNBA to cancel all games that Wednesday night, as well as all MLB games. It gives almost a comforting feeling to know some of the people we look up to the most will take part and use their platform to show that there is a problem going on; a problem we refuse to go through any longer! Pete Carroll, coach for the Seattle Seahawks, cancelled practice to use his voice and platform to speak on the topic of racism.

“Maybe there’s a new door to walk through, to do what’s right and what’s right is to treat people equally,” he told reporters.

Not only are athletes speaking out, but they’ve included BLACK LIVES MATTER on their attire while warming up or playing their sport. This is another great way to stand up for social change. The WNBA, who always seems to be using their platforms and voices for social change, took it up a notch this past week. The Washington Mystics wore shirts to spell out JACOB BLAKE, each of the player’s shirts had seven bullet holes in the back to represent the shots fired at Jacob Blake. Also, following the attack of three black transgender influencers, the Chicago Sky players were wearing t-shirts that said “Black Trans Lives Matter.” Naomi Osaka, a tennis player, walked into the U.S. Open arena wearing a Breonna Taylor mask, saying she has more,

“Uhm, no actually, I have seven,” Naomi explained to ESPN, but “seven isn’t enough for the amount of names.” She finished off her interview by expressing her hopes of making it to the finals, so that she could wear more masks with names on them.

After the NBA resumed, a Nuggets player, Jamal Murray, spoke about fighting for social change in a post-game interview, seeming to get choked up.

“These shoes mean a lot,” Jamal told ESPN. During the game, Jamal was wearing sneakers with portraits of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

“We found something worth fighting for, as the NBA, as a unit.”

Now think about it, would the president not EVER agree with the actions of some of our favorite athletes? Why does he frown upon athletes standing for social change? Maybe he is part of the problem. Staying silent on these topics shows a lack of caring and understanding.

Think of it from your own point of view; regardless of your platform, if you are or aren’t an athlete, regardless if you support Trump or not, would you speak up for social change? One of my favorite sayings that stuck with me the most throughout this movement is, “silence is violence.”

Would you agree?

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