Professional athletes raise awareness of racial inequality

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Photo credit Google Commons

LeBron James and the Lakers players take a knee during the anthem before their game against the Clippers on June 30.

Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can’t Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality. These are just some of the social messages on the back of the NBA players’ jerseys. In Major League Baseball, on opening day, the league painted  BLM on the pitcher’s mound, along with many teams putting a Black Lives Matter patch on the side of their jerseys. In the NHL, before the National anthem, players from both teams lined up at center ice and had a moment of silence for the killings of Briana Taylor and George Floyd. 

On Aug. 28, the NBA, WNBA, MLB, and NHL all postponed their games in response to the death of Jacob Blake, and in the New York Mets versus Miami Marlins baseball game on the same day, both teams came out to the field for 42 seconds to honor Blake. In the Milwaukee Bucks versus Orlando Magic game, the Bucks boycotted their game, causing a spark in other major league sports teams to postpone their games. Athletes are still raising awareness by kneeling for the National Anthem or raising a fist in response to racial injustice. 

New York Jets safety Bradley McDougald spoke with the media about the racial injustice going on in America.“Me personally, I’m hurt by the whole situation,” McDougald said. “I’m an African-American man and that easily could’ve been me. As soon as I walk out of 1 Jets Drive, I’m just another black man — and I don’t know how the cops are going to see me.” McDougald also said “I have dreads and tattoos and I’m bigger than the average male, but I don’t know how that cop is going to view me, and the attitude and aggression he’s going to give me.” 

NFL coaches are also speaking out. “At this time, everybody needs to come together and join hands and love each other for what we are and the privilege we have in the short period of time we have on Earth. As opposed to walking in fear, to walk with strength and pride. And if we do that, we’ll be a great example to the world” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. 

At this time, everybody needs to come together and join hands and love each other for what we are and the privilege we have in the short period of time we have on Earth. As opposed to walking in fear, to walk with strength and pride. And if we do that, we’ll be a great example to the world”

— Andy Reid, Chief's coach

Eagles coach Doug Pederson thought what the Lions did was “a great sign of unity, a sign of strength and support as a team.” He said his team will continue the dialogue among players and staff.

Athletes should continue to wear social messages on their jerseys and leagues should continue to raise awareness about the current racial injustice in America for fans all over the world. With an increased number of protests, people are becoming more aware. By using their platform to raise their voice against the racial inequality that is going on, athletes can and should help push for change.