Black Lives Matter

Drew Beckett, Reporter

Today athletes are more influential than ever. Players such as LeBron James, James Harden, Kenny Smith, and so many more have sought to lend their voices and their platforms to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. It has been such a crazy year, we have had everything from a Pandemic to aliens; however perhaps one of the most important developments of this year has been the renewed attention and the mainstream growth of the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement. Players from all sports have taken a stand. Even Hockey, a predominantly white sport has had athletes and organizations publicly supporting the BLM movement.

Many players have substituted using their last name on the back pf their jerseys by using powerful progressive statements instead. The NBA – perhaps more than any other sport – has actively contributed to this movement. The NBA even suspended three days of its playoffs due to player boycotting games as a form of protest. This move, originally started by the Milwaukee Bucks and star player GIannis Antetokounmpo, significantly contributed to the visibility of BLM messages.

Many athletes today are taking knees, similar to Colin Kaepernick, who first used the gesture to bring attention issues of racial justice in America. It is widely understood that this gesture cost Kaepernick his professional career. In the past 6 years, however, there has been a near silence in sports community regarding these protests and the treatment of Kaepernick and Eric Reed (who was among the first athletes to join Kaepernick in this protest).

That has changed this year. Sports reporters, league commissioners, and even owners have been forced to reckon themselves to the importance of this message.  There is no doubt athletes hold wide cultural influence, such as Lebron getting thousands of convicted felons registered to vote. Many athletes have experienced the kinds of discrimination the BLM movement is combating and their voices work to make the experiences of many Black Americans visible to our larger American community. 

This effect has been positive as more and more Americans are being made aware that, although we aspire to be the land where “all men are created equal,” we have a long way to go.

LA Lakers and Clippers players take a knee to protest police brutality as well as Black Lives Matter