There are people who believe sports and politics should stay separate. There are also people who believe that sports and politics can coexist with one another.
For decades, many athletes are on record standing up for the rights of all people. In light of things happening in the country right now, I say sports and politics should coexist and it should be encouraged, not discouraged.
If we don’t want sports and politics coexisting, why are championships teams invited to the White House? Why is the national anthem played before every sports game? Why is the American flag even showcased at these events?
Are professional athletes not human beings? Can they not form their own opinions about things happening in the country in which they reside?
What do people really mean when they say sports and politics should stay separate? We know sports, like music, can bring people together and it allows us to let go of the stresses we go through daily. It allows us have a common interest where for a couple hours, we are not thinking about race, social injustice or any other political problem.
So when we turn on our televisions and we sit in those stadiums to watch the games, many do not want to be hit in the face with the same things that sports are built to hide. They do not want to have to think about those things but without you even knowing, you are subconsciously thinking it anyway.
If you sing the national anthem, you have brought politics into sports. When the American flag is carried out before every sporting event, you have brought politics into sports. Making it a habit of championship teams visiting the White House after their respective win has brought politics into sports.
We have no problem with those types of politics being in sports. It’s only a problem when the athletes personally express their opinion about political issues, whether it is race, social injustice or other inequalities.
The real question is, why does that bother some? Doesn’t everyone have personal opinions about those things?
Of course they do, because they are human.
We constantly say athletes make millions of dollars. Why are they upset? As if the amount of money you have dictates the feelings you have as a person while watching how people are treated in a country that is free.
If you think athletes should stick to playing their sport and shut their mouths, my question to you is, do you? Do you stick to your job and shut up or do you voice your opinion about political matters as well?
We all saw what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia when many people were walking the streets holding Neo-Nazi signs and Confederate flags, yelling racial slurs, but I did not hear or see anyone telling those people to stick to their jobs and not to be political.
Sports and politics do coexist and have been for quite some time and it should stay that way. We should be encouraging people, no matter what their job is, to express any feeling they have about the injustice in this country. Not only is it their constitutional right to do so, but we as a people should want everyone to be treated equally.
When you say they should not speak about certain things, you are trying to take their rights away. Yes, some of them make millions of dollars, but so do doctors and many other professions and there is no one telling them to stick to their job when they show expression.
Did the millions of dollars LeBron James make stop him from being a victim of racial discrimination when someone wrote racial slurs on his home in Los Angeles? No, it did not.
By the standards of some, the people who do not want athletes to express their political issues should not be expressing their political issues either, unless they are a politician. If you are not a politician, you are out of line when you speak on politics just the same as you claim the athletes are.
Sports and politics will continue to coexist as long as there are human beings playing. We are all human beings who have opinions about many things and we should encourage each other to express our thoughts, whether controversial or not.
Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at email@example.com.