Sports Take: Let athletes voice their political opinions

U.S. Soccer Women's National Team member Megan Rapinoe visits the White House briefing room before an event to mark Equal Pay Day, Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By Jarrod Leicher | Reporter

For the past few years, sports has become intertwined with politics like never before. This has led to a pretty polarizing reaction from people. Well, its not really polarizing, since the people that oppose politics in sports usually support the ideas that the athletes are protesting.

We have all heard the phrase, “Shut up and just play,” whenever an athlete or organization just voices an opinion on a political or social topic. But why should they? They are still people too and have the same rights to have a voice as any of us.

Just this week, the MLB moved the All-Star game from Atlanta to Colorado because of a new voting law that was passed in Georgia. The response was met with approval from the left but with massive disapproval from the right. Presumably because the law the MLB protested was a Republican law. Corporations are allowed to make political statements like this, whether they lean one side or the other. But this law is also bringing further publicity to something that most people already don’t agree with.

Disagreeing with what an athlete is advocating for shouldn’t mean that athletes can’t use their platform to raise awareness for something they are passionate about.

When anyone has a platform to try and spread good and to dispel hate, they should, no matter what their profession is. Musicians write protest songs all the time, and celebrities make statements about politics. But when athletes or athletic organizations do it, it is met with much more friction that isn’t consistent with other types of celebrities.

LeBron James isn’t just a basketball player and Megan Rapinoe isn’t just a soccer player — they are people that care about their country and their community. Their involvement has made them activists for change as well as athletes. Within reason, anyone should be allowed to have a public political stance no matter who they are.