Public reaction to NBA and NFL activism

Local fans voice their opinions on the rise of activism in national league sports, and whether or not it is necessary in the sports world


JJ Huish

Fans each have different interpretations of the social justice movements they see in their sports

   The National Basketball Association and the National Football League are two of the most watched sports leagues in America. 

   Recent events which have prompted social movement across the country have propelled these organizations to be more vocal in using their platforms and voices in sharing their opinions on political subjects, specifically social justice and racism. 

   Sports are known to bring people of all backgrounds, races and ages together. 

   Ever since these leagues, such as the NFL and NBA, have been so upfront with their political opinions it has started to divide the people it once brought together. Some fans have completely stopped watching sports, while others think the political messages are great.

   “It is important for  the NBA and NFL to continue to peacefully protest,” sophomore Avery Seva said.  “I am not personally affected by the things they are protesting, but I do believe they are real issues that need to be fixed.”

The NBA has put the message “Black Lives Matter” on their basketball court in “the Bubble” so that it won’t be missed by viewers during games. Players on the court have also been allowed to substitute their last names, on the back of their jerseys, for this social justice message.

   The NFL has taken similar action, putting social justice messages on the back of the endzones and running ads on TV promoting their cause. 

   The boldness of these acts has irked some fans.

   “I do not like having the political messages shown during games because sports are an escape from all of the negative things going on in our world,” sophomore Spencer Longoria said. “I watch sports for the game.”

   Longoria isn’t alone in his belief that when sports become political, it takes away from the game experience. For many people, watching sports is a form of escapism from their daily life and problems.

   Due to the actions of their league, players have been coming forward in the social movement as well. 

   Colin Kapernick, former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, was the first of many athletes who knelt during the National Anthem as a protest of police brutality. Athletes like him have not only found a voice on the field, but have also built their platform through social media and sheer wealth.

   Many fans, such as sophomore Sam Murray, see the activism from their favorite athletes and cheer them on, excited to see them exercising their voice.

   “I agree with athletes using their own platforms to share their personal opinions and peacefully protest,” Murray said. 

   Everyone in America has the right to use their voice to express what change they want to see in their country. 

   Even if people do not agree with athletes and sports organizations spreading their political ideas, they are exercising their freedom of speech.

   Fans vote with their dollar. Should they not enjoy seeing the activism from the NBA or NFL, they can pass their vote somewhere else.

   In this end, will athletes’ impact on America outweigh the impact on their finances and viewership?