Black athletes use celebrity status to speak out against racism and sexism


By James Wright Jr | word in black

(WIB) – When then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand up and acknowledge the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and racist policies that targeted people of color, he sparked a national discussion on the role of athletes in politics and continued the history of sport as a platform for advocacy for social change.

Dr. Harry Edwards, a retired sports sociologist and researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, thought so much about Kaepernick’s acting that in 2020 he suggested the former quarterback be given one. of the highest honors in the world.

“I’m eligible to nominate people for the Nobel Peace Prize and I’m going to do it for Kaep,” Edwards said, sportswriter Mark W. Wright reported on his August 27, 2020 LinkedIn page.

“[This is] not just because of him, but because of all athletes throughout history, dating back to our first great black superstars: Major Taylor, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens and, of course, Paul Robeson. All of these great athletes who have made great sacrifices to advance social justice and human rights, none of them have ever been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I will do it,” he said.

Athlete protests escalated after the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020.

Although Kaepernick was not honored with the Nobel Prize, his refusal to recognize the national anthem would lead to retaliation. He became a free agent after the 2016 season and has yet to be signed to a team. In 2017, President Trump denounced Kaepernick and other NFL players who refused to recognize the national anthem and encouraged NFL owners to fire those who protested.

Athlete protests escalated after the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020. doesn’t she love us? !!!!!!!! ALSO.” Washington Mystics goaltender Natasha Cloud wrote on Players Tribute on May 30 on Twitter, “Neutral about black lives might as well be murder.

NBA Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan expressed outrage over Floyd’s killing.

“I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration,” he said. “I stand with those who speak out against the ingrained racism and violence against people of color in our country. We’ve had enough.

Jordan said he didn’t have the answers “but our collective voices show the strength and inability to be divided by others,” he said. “Our unified voice must pressure our leaders to change our laws or else we must use our vote to create systemic change. Each of us must be part of the solution.

The MeToo movement

While Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and racism has garnered a lot of attention, athletes have also spoken out against sexual harassment and discrimination. Simone Biles, a seven-time gold medalist gymnast, told NBC in 2021 that she attended the Tokyo games to send a message about the injustice of not punishing disgraced gymnastics coach Larry Nassar enough for his documented sexual abuse and child abuse transgressions.

“I just feel like whatever happened, I had to come back to sports to be a voice, for change to happen,” Biles told NBC News. “Because I feel like if there hadn’t been a survivor in the sport, they would have just brushed him off.”

While Biles eventually pulled out of the competition due to mental health issues, her presence and outspokenness about sexual harassment drew a lot of attention to the issue. According to the July 2021 report from Lilly.

“Women are really finding their voice and realizing that their experiences matter,” Taylor said.

This post originally appeared on Washington Informer.


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