How often should sports be involved in politics?


Photo by AJ Grainger

The Pittsburgh Penguins gear up to take on the New Jersey Devils on Mar. 8, 2020, at PPG Paints Arena.

Over the last couple of years, politics have played a bigger and bigger role in American sports. Ever since Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem in 2016, sports players have been speaking out about their political opinions more and more. 

Since the tragic murder of George Floyd, athletes have started speaking out. In the NBA bubble last summer, almost every team wore Black Lives Matter shirts and kneeled and/or locked arms during the National Anthem. 

NFL teams have also made efforts to take a stand against social injustice. In their home opener, the Pittsburgh Steelers held a moment of silence for the victims of social injustice. The NFL organization has also been spreading political messages on its social media accounts. 

However, many sports fans wish that these leagues wouldn’t speak out on politics as much to keep sports how they used to be and to make them a place where fans can forget about our country’s political problems. 

In my opinion, sports leagues should only speak out on politics when they have to and should try to avoid them when they can. But at the same time, players are always entitled to voice their opinions because they have the right to. 

Politics in our country are so polarizing and dividing because of people’s differing opinions and they can tear people apart. People are so narrow-minded and un-open to others’ political ideas that they don’t even listen. 

When politics are brought into sports it takes away from the actual sports and gives off a negative feeling. Politics are a serious matter that doesn’t match well with the fun of sports.

Regardless of what your opinion is about Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem, it was a controversial topic that caused a lot of tension between the two sides of the argument. 

His controversy brought a lot of negativity and shock to a place where it does not belong. Sports are supposed to be a light-hearted and fun experience for everyone watching. When politics are brought up, it takes away from the light-hearted aspect of sports. 

On the other hand, players should always be able to voice their opinions because of the First Amendment. It would be unfair to the players if their leagues were to shut down their voice on political matters. 

The most appropriate place for politics in sports is during players’ press conferences and post-game interviews. In these meetings, players are individually asked questions, which gives them the chance to give their own individual opinion. 

I prefer to see politics left out of sports but I will always respect players exercising their right to freedom of speech by voicing their own opinions.