Should Athletes be able to protest with symbolic speech?

Steven Alvarez, Sports Editor

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In recent news Mississippi basketball players have been questioned for kneeling to the national anthem. Does this sound familiar? Colin Kaepernick got kicked from the NFL for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Was it just for him to get his career ended like that? No it wasn’t. I believe that athletes should not be punished for protesting something positive. Like Colin and the Mississippi players they were protesting to stop violence and hate in the country and I see no problem in that. Why should these players be punished or seen differently if the same thing was happening in the past but instead of showing a good message it was more hate based.

What has it look like in history? It comes in many forms but all don’t send a similar message. Protesting in sports dates all the way back to between 1883 and 1888. Times have changed and political perspectives have changed. In the times of the late 1800’s you may wonder ‘what could they be protesting?’ according to Ohio State University and Miami University baseball players of the Chicago White Stockings refused to play against a team who had a African American player. St. Louis Browns had to cancel an exhibition game between the Browns and Cuban Giants by declining to play because all the players were black. Let’s move into WW2 era. In 1936 the Olympics were held in Berlin, Germany. A place which was Nazi controlled at the time. American athletes who identified as Jewish boycotted the games. African Americans did the same. At the end of the day Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals. These examples are to show that in bad times in history people stood for good and bad but the good like in the Olympics. But how come the media covers these types of events differently.

What’s protesting now? In the late 90’s and through now protesting in sports has mostly been to help fight against injustices like police brutality. Some have been political like when in 1992 Michael Jordan made it clear that he did not support either political party at the time and felt like he shouldn’t support one or the either. Protest gets more attention in the United States compared to other countries. In some instances in soccer after a tragic event happens usually it gets attention by a moment of silence or a theme in the kits they wear. In the other hand the United States seems to be more strict about these types of things its less common at the same time.

People have perceived the protest as a disrespect to the nation or to a certain group of people. Everyone has their own opinion and the fact is if people have opinions about the protest the actual protesters opinion should be respected.



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