Athletes and politics; let’s talk about it

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, also known as the NAACP, has sent a letter to the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL and WNBA players’ associations urging players to not sign with any Texas sports teams due to their recent laws on abortions, voting rights, and mask mandates. 

At first, I found it interesting that the NAACP sought out sports teams instead of a Texas human rights organization or Texas politicians. The more I thought about it, sports in Texas are a big deal and bring in lots revenue and tourism to the state. If the teams are not signing key players to their rosters then they’re going to lose future support and money. 

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In the letter sent by the NAACP, it stated that “If you are considering signing in Texas, I ask you to ensure that owners are upholding their responsibility of protecting you, the athlete, and your family.” The letter states. “I ask you to use your influence to help protect the constitutional rights of each individual at risk.”

The part where the letter says “use your influence” was directed at the players and team organizations caught my attention, because it’s been argued before and is still argued over now. Should athletes get involved with political and social issues? My answer is absolutely. Athletes have such a big influence on society. They have fans looking up to them and social media platforms that they can post on for thousands or even millions of people to see depending on the athlete. Now, I’m not saying that athletes know everything and are always right, but they can start a conversation. They can bring attention to an issue. If an athlete wears a t-shirt during warmups that says for example, “Black Lives Matter”, ESPN is going to be talking about it, people are going to be tweeting about it, and in general people are going to be talking about it with their friends, family, etc.

Another reason why it’s so important that athletes speak up about issues is it affects them too. The recent abortion laws affect everyone, but have a greater affect on the WNBA. The voting restrictions on black and brown voters affects a large percentage of professional athletes as a whole. This includes all five of the organizations the NAACP sent the letter to (WNBA, NBA, MLB, NFL, and NHL). Not to mention the recent mask mandates affect every athlete in the state of Texas. These laws affect everyone and should be spoken out against if people believe that they’re wrong. Athletes are a small percentage of the population but their voices carry more weight and should take into consideration the state that they are representing on and off the field.

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