As most people know, the NFL has been a political topic recently. It all started when Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem at the beginning of the 2016 season. The conversation was brought back into the spotlight with Donald Trump’s statement at a rally in Alabama, calling for the NFL owners to fire players who kneel during the national anthem and calling them “sons of bitches.” When this season started, many athletes, of all genders, took a knee during the national anthem, creating a media frenzy. However, only male protestors were covered in the news. Is racial equality not an important issue to female athletes? Of course it is, but once again female athletes are not given as much respect as male athletes. Players during the WNBA finals also took a knee and linked arms for racial equality in a stance against police brutality. Sadly, female athletes’ role in standing up for this injustice is extremely overlooked, more specifically black women.
Female leagues are always second to male leagues in every way. Females work just as hard, or even harder, but get paid less. The average salary for a WNBA player is about 51,000 dollars. Male NBA players have an average salary of over 6 million dollars. Female athletes are just as deserving as men and are always overlooked, even when it comes to political activism. In fact, the first white person to kneel during the national anthem was the USA female soccer team’s Megan Rapinoe. Most people think of Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, and other MALE athletes when they think of this police brutality protest. No one thinks of the three WNBA teams who protested and wore black lives matters shirts to a game; they were subsequently fined. Moreover, four WNBA teams fought back against those fines by talking only about police shootings and brutality to the media after their games. The Seattle Storm also raised over 50,000 dollars for planned parenthood making a huge impact on the organization, but making little impact on the media.
Women in sports and sports media are not recognized, and even when they are they are rarely taken seriously. This is reflective of our society in the US – men and women both fight for a cause but men will receive the acknowledgement and credit. Women are on the forefront of fighting for equal rights and standing up against police brutality, but a video of LeBron James talking about it will always be more “news worthy”.