First, let’s eliminate any inventive wall between us and acknowledge racism as existing and alive as it has ever has been. Why do we need to be better than someone else to feel good about ourselves; we should want to feel the same. Secondly, I think sports and politics absolutely do mix. Sports has been a catalyst for many great social changes. Above all and whether we like it or not though sports is a business and at the end of the day people don’t want that affected.
Carolina Panther’s coach Ron Rivera may have a point saying “As far as I’m concerned sports is sports and politics is politics…if you want to make change, vote.” Frankly, there are those who don’t want their sports and politics mixed and there will be a market for those people to escape to sooner or later.
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has garnered a lot of attention for his actions protesting social injustice by kneeling during the national anthems. Time Magazine has featured an image of him on the cover of the October 3rd issue.
On August 29th during a conservative Seattle radio talk show called The Dori Monson Show, republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Colin’s kneeling was “a terrible thing.” “Maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it won’t happen,” Trump said. When CNN’s Dan Simon asked about those comments, Kaepernick said they are “ignorant,” and called out Trump’s campaign slogan.
There is an overwhelming amount of pressure on athletes to be more than just athletes these days. Society expects them to be model citizens because we admire them, the money they earn, and the money generated through sports, especially in this day and age, is significant. We have compelled them to be more than just athletes.
If nobody bothered the athlete about anything other than playing and going home then there wouldn’t be a problem. But if you want to bother them about other things, you can’t then turn around and try to say that this doesn’t belong in sports; because there is a lot of other things the athlete would prefer they didn’t have to deal with, but they’re compelled to by the virtue of the fact that the money they are making they are considered role models, etc. You can’t have it both ways. Let them in or not.
Here’s JR Smith’s bizarre interview in a sky mask after he was asked to explain what happened on a defensive play he failed to be there for.
We as a society have spent far too much time intermingling the two by putting an added amount of pressure on the athletes to be more than just athletes when it serves other folks purpose, but then we want them to shut up when it serves theirs.
Perhaps it wasn’t wise for Colin Kaepernick to sit down during the national anthem, but since we live in a country where everyone only wants to hear people agree with them or look the other way, at least Colin took a stance. And at least JR made it fun for the media.
Think about society and how we have evolved. think about gay rights, think about the immigration issue. We’ve used sports to basically ingratiate those issues into the fabric of american culture. It may have not been successful had we not pulled those off.
When we think about all the issues that have permeated our society through the prism of sports; we have to understand it’s not about sports. It’s about life in our society.
If sports is insistent on being overtly politically active we are just going to be reminded at some point that you are a business.