Athletes in the United States help change the world more than politicians do.
Black athletes are fighting a problem facing 92 percent of the black community in the United States: racism. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Junior shared his “dream” in a call to end racism in the United States. This “dream,” unfortunately, has not been accomplished even to this day. Athletes are taking it upon themselves by being role models to younger generations as well as older ones to complete this dream. Due to the inequality faced by the black community, athletes are starting to play a major role in influencing change that politicians cannot.
For example, Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback who played for the San Francisco 49ers, was blacklisted from the NFL for kneeling during the American national anthem before every game he played; the reason: to promote equality for the black community. By doing this, he not only represented the community but all black athletes who have ever faced racism.
Nike promoted Kaepernick’s beliefs about equality through an advertisement, and for that, the Nike brand was hated by white supremacists; videos of Nike shoes bought by these people were shown being set on fire and these videos quickly spread over social media, disrupting Nike’s reputation. Due to his beliefs, Kaepernick has been banished and made fun of by the white community, but the black community supports him to means-end; other NFL athletes showed their support by kneeling during the anthem, same as Kaepernick, and I show my support by writing this opinion piece.
Kaepernick’s goal: for the police to stop targeting black individuals; he wanted to let mothers like Jacqueline Craig freely call the police to arrest a man that choked her son for littering, and not get arrested herself. He wanted to let teenagers live to see their future and not die at the hands of the police at the age of 17, based on an accusation. His views caused the president of the United States to force the NFL to take action against the promotion of equality.
Another athlete, LeBron James, an NBA Star, also a favorite of many basketball fans including myself, was born and brought up in the hardships of racism, as portrayed in the movie More Than a Game. He still managed to grow up to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
LeBron is a role model to many and is also a supporter of Colin Kaepernick. He supports Kaepernick’s fight against racism, causing the vast amount of his followers to support the cause as well.
“This race thing has taken over, one, because I believe our president is kind of trying to divide us,” James said.
James felt like he couldn’t rely on politicians, and had to do something about the lack of education himself; he became a multi-millionaire due to basketball and helped provide free education until college for more than 1,000 children by 2022.
After James shared his views on politics, a Fox News host, Laura Ingraham, asked LeBron to “shut up and dribble.” She believed that he should just play the sport since he was only paid to do that.
How racism affects sports is just one of the many stories out there; racism is an issue that black people are faced with in their everyday lives. For teenagers, sports play an important role for a majority of us, but what if coaches judged us based on our race or skin color?
To the many young and old sportspeople who don’t have a voice to fight racism, now have professional athletes fighting for them, they have the entire black community to support them and voice their opinions.
Here at Woodstock, racism does not seem to be an issue for my friends; maybe it’s because we voice our opinions about change: equality. Hopefully one day we can stand in the places of those politicians, making changes that all races support and that support all races.