In lecture this week we were talking about athletes that stood up and supported causes throughout the years. Now not many athletes participate in many political or social movements because of the backlash that people before them received. For example, The Nation Post, Where Are the Jocks for Justice? It states “Dallas Mavericks guard Steve Nash wore a T-shirt to media day during the NBA’s All-Star weekend that said No WAR. SHOOT FOR PEACE. Numerous sports columnists criticized Nash for speaking his mind. (One wrote that he should “just shut up and play.”)”. Another example is when Tiger Woods did a commercial for Nike referring to the racism within golfing clubs he was severely criticized for it. Today that has all changed with the increase of very controversial issues more athletes are voicing or showing their opinions.
I was reading a post on the how some members of the St. Louis Rams walked onto the field doing the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” pose. The pose is in response to the increasing numbers of force used by police against unarmed citizen. It started with the death of Mike Brown, an unarmed eighteen year old who was gunned down by a police officer. Some people supported those members of the St. Louis Rams who participated in the very popular pose but some were very critical of their action.
Just recently Fox News host Bill O’ Reiley on air said something along these lines that the rams were too stupid to know what they were participating in. A couple of things popped into my head. One being Is he saying this because most people think that athletes aren’t the smartest people in the world? That wasn’t the case though because he continued to say, all I’m say is be careful who you sympathize with. He was calling them stupid because he believed they shouldn’t be sympathizing with people who support the Ferguson movement.
On the other hand people like Benjamin Watson a football player for the New Orleans Saints has been praised for his Facebook post that responded to the Ferguson court decision. His post has been called moving, motivation, inspiration, and other great things. In this post he voices his anger, concerns, fears, and hopefulness. The most interesting part of the post was when he writes,
“I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”
He not only just bluntly states his opinion he brings religion into his response, something many people are not willing to voice publicly.
Different situations bring out the most unexpected response. And I have to say I was not expecting those responses to come from athletes.