Across nearly all professional leagues, athletes have taken a firm stance against social injustice, police brutality and racism.
From wearing shirts promoting movements they believe in, to kneeling during the national anthem, many have demanded change before they continue to play.
Being a die hard Los Angeles Lakers fan, I was very excited to see them play in the playoffs for the first time in eight years, but when talk arose about boycotting the rest of the playoffs, I was not upset, because I know it is bigger than basketball.
Athletes want people to recognize that what is going regarding social injustices are real issues and a problem that is not going away.
And I see no problem with that.
Athletes have received immense backlash due to their individual stances. For example, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, since kneeling during the national anthem in response to police brutality in 2016, has yet to play another down of football.
Lakers superstar LeBron James has been the voice of the National Basketball Association, showing his disapproval of police brutality by Tweeting “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”
In response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsan, players from the NBA players had a meeting in the bubble that was led by the players president Chris Paul. James was reportedly furious and wanted the season to end as a sign of protest if nothing was going to be done.
At the restart of their season, Women’s National Basketball Association players wore shirts that demanded justice for Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky.
President Trump tweeted that he does not support NBA players taking a knee during the national anthem and this will result in him no longer watching the sport.
In response, NBA players including New Orleans Pelicans star J.J. Redick said that they did not care if he watches or not.
Last Thursday kicked off the NFL season, showcasing the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs against the Houston Texans.
Before the game started, the Chiefs and Texans stood at the middle of the field and locked arms, having a moment of silence for those who have been killed by and faced injustice at the hands of the police .
The Texans also stayed in the locker room during the national anthem. The fans in attendance did not approve of either action and boo’d the teams.
It has been reported that many other NFL teams will be following the Chiefs and Texans and doing the same during week two of the NFL to raise awareness of social injustice
Major League Soccer players also boycotted some of their games in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Naomi Osaka even took a stance and was planning on boycotting her semifinal match at the Western and Southern Open. She later reversed her decision when she found out that the matches will be postponed for a few days.
When Osaka was told by fans to just “shut up and play” she responded with, “it’s a human rights issue.”
Osaka and many professional athletes around the country want to make sure that people know that this is an issue bigger than sports.