Since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown this summer, many people have explained their outrage via social media. Recently, when the grand jury decision was announced social media became the main way for people to express their opinions, and share what was happening with riots and protests nationally. In fact, I remember sitting in a movie theater and getting a CNN notification that Darren Wilson, the police office, would not be indicted. Immediately, I opened twitter to see #Ferguson all over my feed. Specifically, I noticed many celebrities tweeting and sharing photos on Instagram about the news.
I scrolled through posts from Beyonce, The Kardashians, and many actors. But one athlete really caught my eye. Reggie Bush, the Detroit Lion’s running back, posted multiple tweets about the incident. One said, “I guess we shouldn’t be surprised anymore when stuff like this happens! #JusticeForMikeBrown”. I remember looking through responses and seeing how his fans supported his thoughts on the disheartening situation in Ferguson.
When discussing “Where Are The Jocks for Justice” in section, we talked about how athletes are often scrutinized for speaking up about political issues. In the article, Candaele and Dreier mention how many athletes visit hospitals or do other charity work, but speaking up about more extreme issues is rare because they are “expect to preform not pontificate”. In class I asked John why athletes can not get away with this right as easily as musicians or actors. His answer was that artists do not usually represent a specific community or crowd the way athletes do, and that athletes also may worry about endorsements. This response made me realize the pressures that athletes face from the organizations they are associated with and how unfair this is.
Athletes should be able to speak their mind on most political issues the same way other people of high stature do. Many people look up to athletes and by them taking a stand others may feel inclined to do so as well. This week Bush also wore a shirt that said, “I can’t Breath” to warm up for a game to show his support for the unjust death of Eric Garner. In the case of Ferguson, Reggie Bush, was not the only athlete to speak up. Much more famous athletes like, Lebron James, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Serena Williams all also tweeted. I think it is admirable that these successful athletes, who I am sure are all endorsed by major corporations, spoke up about this issue of race and human rights. They should not be ridiculed for defending an issue that they care about, especially since it does not affect their performance in the sport they play.
Interestingly, I could not find any information on people being offended by these athletes sharing their opinion. This makes me believe that because of social media our culture may be changing to allow athletes to have political views. Since personal social media accounts are an easy way to constantly express oneself, athletes may be becoming more comfortable with pushing the boundaries and sharing their personal views.