COLUMN: WE NEED ACTION. ATHLETES COULD BE THE SOLUTION

LAUREN WISDOM, TRUMPET FEATURES WRITER

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants joined forces to postpone their baseball game on Aug. 26 as a statement against racial injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin . The Dodgers and the Giants were not the only baseball teams to take action in fighting against racial injustice. The Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres followed suit, too.

NBA teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trailblazers had their games cancelled as well for the same reason as the MLB.

Protesting for racial justice in athletics is not new. Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem before his NFL game on Sept. 1, 2016, to protest his views on how racial minorities are treated. No one thought anything of it until George Floyd was murdered by police in May 2020, about four years after Kaepernick took a stand.

Aside from protesting racial injustice, the Chicago Cubs wore T-shirts that said “Vote!” on them before their game against the Miami Marlins on Sept. 30, persuading those who are eligible to use their voices.

It is truly astonishing to see professional athletes speak out or act upon the social issues that our world faces today. Collegiate and professional athletes have many young children who idolize their every move. When these children see someone they look up to taking action on the world’s problems, it persuades them to take the same steps.

Dyami Brown, wide receiver from the University of North Carolina,  posted a picture on Twitter over the summer of him being celebrated by fans with the caption, “Sometimes I think this is the only time they really care about my life.” With the number of protests going on across the United States where people fought against racial and social injustice, it was the perfect time for athletes to speak out against other issues that affected them personally. 

As one could gather from the tweet posted by Brown, athletes feel as though they are just athletes in the eyes of fans rather than actual human beings, which is an unfortunate feeling to have. I believe it is an important topic to touch on, so fans can perhaps realize these athletes are just like them who just get a ton of recognition for the sport they excel at. 

Allowing athletes to speak out against the issues our world faces is extremely important because people actually listen and are moved by the words the athlete says. However, I think it is necessary for college athletics to take more action than they do currently. Professional sports do an exceptional job of reaching out to the public about these issues, but some states do not have professional sports that fans can religiously follow. 

Being from Illinois, I grew up watching Chicago sports, hence why I am a huge Chicago Cubs fan. When I came to Wartburg, I was surrounded by people who were fans of professional teams all over the United States because Iowa does not have a professional team in the state. However, I have never seen so many people be completely infatuated with a college sports team. 

In states like Iowa that do not have professional sports teams, people who reside in that state treat college sports like they would sports at a professional level. Colleges need to do a better job of speaking out against issues that negatively affect people. That way those people would likely follow in the footsteps of their favorite college team.

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