Whenever an athlete offers their opinion about a current social or political hot button issues, they are often met with cries of “stick to sports!” Unfortunately, the ignorant people who make those demands in the comments section seem to forget that freedom of speech applies to everyone, including celebrity athletes. They pay taxes just like us, live in the same cities as we do, and vote for the same candidates. They just happen to have a perfect platform to make a difference, since millions of sports fan will hear whatever it is they have to say.
Although no less a legend Michael Jordan once famously said “republicans buy sneakers too” when refusing to take a political side when questioned by reporters, athletes have been going public with hard line political stances for decades. Whether you agree or disgaree (or are just indifferent), here are 10 that truly stand out.
10. Colin Kaepernick Takes A Knee For Black Lives Matter
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was best known for leading his team to a Super Bowl appearance in 2013 before poor play got him relegated to thebench. However, in 2015, Kaepernick started a firestorm of controversy, and then a national movement, by refusing to stand for the national anthem during preseason NFL games. When asked by reporters why he refused to stand for the “Star Spangled Banner,” Kaepernick replied he was protesting the murder of black people at the hands of police and showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Controversy quickly erupted, with Kaepernick’s jersey burned in the streets by self-proclaimed patriots. However, the following week, rather than simply sit during the national anthem, Kaepernick instead took a knee on the sideline in what was viewed as a more respectful form of protest. A few weeks later, football players around the NFL (and athletes in other sports) were following suit and a protest movement by taking a knee during the anthem was born.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)