Sports organizations and Athletes all over the world are using their enormous platforms to promote the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether it is from social media, the back of players jerseys, messages on a field or court, or kneeling during the national anthem, they will not stop until their message has been heard.
In 2018, a journalist by the name Laura Ingraham told Lebron James to “shut up and dribble” after Lebron was interviewed on ESPN and talked heavily about social justice. Ingraham’s statement only fueled the movement more because it raised a lot of discussion from NBA players in post-game interviews. In a post-game interview, Lebron James stated, “The best thing she did was help me create more awareness, I get to sit up here and talk about social injustice.”
Sports fans everywhere are talking about the increased involvement that athletes have taken in social justice.
“Athletes are using their professional platform to voice and support political views. I totally understand and support the movement, but I personally use sports as a means to escape from the frustrations of everyday life” Michael Gaines, a student from Upper Perk said.
There are many people in this world that support this movement and many that do not. One side feels that the players and organizations have every right to promote the messages that they want to get across. While the other side is frustrated that they cannot watch a sporting event without being dragged into a political conversation.
James is not the only athlete who has been raising awareness for Black Lives Matter. In fact, a majority of athletes promote BLM, but many of them, like Nascar’s Bubba Wallace, have become a household name for the issue. Wallace has spread the movement by putting symbols and messages about BLM on his car.
“Bubba Wallace from Nascar racing stands out to me a lot. I feel that he is supporting social justice without necessarily trampling on the patriotic values of our country. I feel that his situation is more unique given that NASCAR racing is more of a traditional southern sport. I believe that he is single-handedly responsible for spreading the movement in the world of NASCAR Racing.” An anonymous student at PV stated.
The people that spread the BLM movement the loudest get a lot of praise from the media, but the people that stay silent and have no message to spread face a lot of backlash. Owner of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones has faced a lot of controversy for staying silent during a time where many believe that voices need to be heard. Jones is facing backlash because the majority of his team are people that are being oppressed.
“I do not believe someone should be criticized for not saying anything. No one should be forced to promote something that they might not necessarily agree with.” said a student who wished to stay anonymous.
Sports television ratings have taken a major hit from everything that is going on in the world. Week 2 in the NFL had its lowest ratings since 2000. It’s not unlikely that the decline in ratings is a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but many seem to believe that it is from the BLM movement.
“I can totally see sports ratings take an even bigger hit. I do not blame the people who stop watching sports and I think I might have to join them. I do think that TV stations will start to choose money over justice if this keeps up.” Gaines stated.
The future is up for grabs on what happens with the Black Lives Matter movement in sports. It is impossible to put a timer on how much longer these messages need to be put across until society can change.