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The Good and Bad Sides of Athlete Activism

Ryan Beltran

Posted on September 20, 2020 00:29

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Recent athlete activism in America and around the world has been positively received by fans, but a portion of fans also look at athletes speaking on controversial issues as "negative".

Over recent months, athletes have become more outspoken about their own beliefs outside their respected professions.

There are positives and negatives to athletes being vocal,  but we still see many fans disagree with athletes partaking in this and believe athletes should still keep their own opinions to themselves.

While I personally agree that athletes shouldn’t be always seen as totally reliable social advocates, I think that fans should not angrily discredit the recent surge of athlete activism and should actually be proud of it, whether they agree with their beliefs or not.

Again, there are definitely negative instances of athletes being too outspoken about certain issues and saying the wrong things when they don’t mean to. Especially when athletes express what they feel on topics that they aren’t necessarily as informed in compared to more credited experts, it is fair for people to criticize athletes for that.

For example, two months ago when Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson made a controversial comment that quoted Adolf Hitler, his misinformed comment caused outrage within the Jewish community. 

Jackson wasn’t alone as many other athletes from Dwyane Wade, Allen Iverson, Stephen Jackson, and other NFL players also came in defense of the star receiver; defending that his stance wasn’t anti-Semitic, even though the statement was unarguably offensive to many Jewish people.

Incidents like what happened with Jackson can be used against athletes and really hurt the potential positive impact they can have on our society during these times. Still, outside that incident, there are still countless examples of reasonable actions from athletes who voiced their own opinions in a rational way that can bring better discussion among people.

Observing across sports leagues in America and worldwide, we have seen a noticeable increase in athletes trying to spread awareness about anti-racism and police brutality: kneeling during the national anthem, making statements on racial and social issues, and donating money to charities.

One of the best instances I have noticed from a particular athlete was when Cincinnati Bengals star rookie quarterback Joe Burrow tweeted in relation to the recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin three weeks ago. Burrow stated publicly to his many followers on Twitter, “How can you hear the pain Black people are going through and dismiss it as nothing. How can you hear the pain and respond with anything other than 'I stand with you'.”

For me, seeing a white quarterback like Joe Burrow make a statement like this can really set a great precedent that can influence more people to take more willing stances on subjects that are uncomfortable to talk about, especially something like racism.

With how complicated things are politically in America right now, having athletes like Joe Burrow and others use their popularity to speak on issues like this can be a possible method in bringing change in our societal issues.     

Ryan Beltran

Posted on September 20, 2020 00:29

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Source: WBRZ

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. LSUs Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow has been named the 2019-2020 Roy F. Kramer SEC Male...

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