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It is refreshing to see and hear professional athletes’ actions and voices ring clear and resounding with the trying times in the world. It was evident that athletes’ voices would be heard in this political election held on Nov. 3, 2020.
Sports Owners Secret Political Donations
A source that would like to remain nameless was asked a question about owners making political donations privately in ways that not only shield their identity but from backlash from their own players, staffers, and fans? The answer was a resounding yes, and it happens regularly.
Here are the words of that owner:
I’m so worried about Biden’s regulations, so I’m funding as much as I can privately and confidentially to get Trump reelected. I know he’s crazy, and I hope Democrats take the House and the Senate, but then Trump can block stuff and protect us on the taxes and regulation.
The question is, who is he referring to?
Athletes Speaking Out
From sports arenas opening up their venues for early voting and owners making secret donations to campaigns, athletes speak out on social and racial justice issues across the country like no other time in history. Both sports franchises and figures have come together in this election season.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce was present day one of early voting at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia — he stated:
My first day, there was a man bringing his son down who was a first-time voter. It was a cool moment to be a part of [and] to see that right to vote being passed down from generation to generation.
Infamous Hong Kong Tweet
Many Americans think it is okay for professional athletes to speak their views on political and social issues publicly. Three years ago, NBA superstar LeBron James brazenly responded to a tweet posted by the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong
James responded by saying:
I don’t want to get into a feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, [and] spiritually. Just be careful what we tweet, what we say and what we do. Yes, we have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negatives that come with that as well.
James’ statements come upon a broader canvas of superstar American athletes speaking out in protest against Black Americans’ treatment in the United States. The athletes were taking a knee and refusing to stand for the National Anthem. Also, members of teams that had won championships were refusing to visit the White House.
Athletes Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is
In mid-July, in an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America,” basketball athletes Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and Lebron James spoke out for social justice. They desire to develop a change in urban communities across the country.
Athletes like Anthony, Paul, and Wade are putting their money where their mouths are by investing in and supporting organizations that focus on empowering communities of color and advocating for the human rights of all Black lives.
Inspiration and Focus Among Athletes
They continue by sharing what gave them the inspiration to start the Social Change Fund. Seeing the health, education, and the different types of foods that go into the inner cities opened their eyes to the systemic racism that permeates Black communities.
Some of their focus will be to end police brutality and advance criminal justice reform. At this moment, with widespread social controversy, and economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for change is one thing, but creating change is another thing altogether.
Anthony goes on to say:
If you don’t have a good roof over your head, if you’re not being educated from home, along with [being] educated in the school, [Black people are] going to always be starting from behind and playing catch up. These are certain aspects that we want to [address] ASAP.
Opinion News by Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
FactTank: Most Americans say it’s OK for professional athletes to speak out publicly about politics; by John Gramlich
GMA: NBA stars Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul create fund for social change
The Los Angeles Times: LeBron James says social justice work in bubble is only the start; by Broderick Turner
ESPN: 2020 election season features sports, politics, athlete activism, voting efforts
ESPN: What the work behind political change looks like for LeBron James and star athletes; by Ramona Shelburne and Malika Andrews
ESPN: Election 2020: How sports owners hide political donations from players and fans; Baxter Holmes
Forbes: The Fallout From Daryl Morey’s Pro-Hong Kong Tweet Is Now A Very Expensive Problem For The NBA; by Isabel Togoh
Feature and Top Image Courtesy of Stephen Melkisethian’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image by Gage Skidmore Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image by Warren LeMay Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Third Inset Image by Keith Allison Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Fourth Inset Image by Rakoon Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License