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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Athletes utilize platform to push for change

    By Cassidy Lee
    Copy Editor

    In 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaeppernick kneeled on one knee and refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem. His objection was in response to what he believed were wrongdoings towards African Americans and other minorities in the United States. Kaepernick’s protest sparked a reaction of other athletes using their platforms as an advantage to speak and encourage other social movements in the United States.

    Sports celebrities have a greater platform in which they have the opportunity to voice opinions on social movements and push for change.
    Megan Rapinoe, player for the United States national women’s soccer team, also kneeled during the National Anthem in solidarity with Colin Kaeppernick at a game in 2016.
    “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” Rapinoe stated to NBC Sports. “It was something small that I could do […] and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it.”
    Basketball stars, Lebron James, Chris Paul, and Dwayne Wade, have used their social platforms to push for social change and bring attention to violence in the country.
    However, not only have athletes been using their fame to advocate for social movements, but they have also utilized their platforms to express their views on different religious and political issues.
    In 2010, Arizona passed a law strengthening protection against illegal immigration. In response to the law, Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns, decided to use his team to make a political statement. The Suns began to wear jerseys that stated “Los Suns” on them. Using his team to his advantage, Sarver was able to use his platform to express his opposition to a political issue.
    Dr. Harry Edwards, a professor at the University of California Berkeley stated to The Washington Times, “Athletes have a phenomenal megaphone. […] So the obligation to speak up, especially in regards to the African-American outcomes and interests, is critical.”
    Social media is also heavily utilized by sports celebrities and allows athletes to communicate directly with their followers to encourage action.
    Not only do athletes have a large social platform, but they also have levels of wealth which are used to their advantage when speaking for a movement.
    “The newfound power of today’s athlete comes from monetary wealth, celebrity status and having the vehicle of social media to communicate directly with the masses,” stated AP News. “They can reach hordes of people, encouraging them to get involved in social change.”
    Athletes using their sports platforms to advocate for social change has encouraged many to build a level of trust and respect between individuals and the police.
    Regardless of the issue, sports celebrities have the power to push for change, and encourage their fans to take action on social movements by using their athletic platform.

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    Athletes utilize platform to push for change