Should athletes keep politics out of the game?

By Josh Belgrad ’19

THE ROUNDUP

With the controversies behind kneeling for the national anthem and “shut up and dribble,” the resulting discussion has turned to the validity of athletes utilizing their platform to promote their political opinions.

Football defensive consultant Mr. Thurmond Moore has trained many NFL athletes during their seasons or to prepare the athletes for the draft.

“There is too much value placed on people at times because they have tremendous physical talent but they are not necessarily tremendous thinkers,” Moore said.  

Moore added that while they earn and use their platforms, the main question that faces today’s society is: where are you getting your information from?

“The Colin Kaepernick situation went so south so fast … just because he’s an athlete doesn’t mean his words should be taken more than mine or yours,” Moore said.

“I have a bunch of clients who knelt, I don’t think it was totally thought out but it goes back to the golden rule of treat people the way you want to be treated,” Moore added. “ My dad was a 26 year vet and there is no way I would kneel for the Anthem.”

Bertrand Odinet ’18 is a senior who has played 4 years of football. He recently was awarded the Arizona Interscholastic Association 2018 Scholar Athlete of the Year Award.

“Being a professional athlete is a job and having that job shouldn’t preclude athletes from using their platform to promote politics,” Odinet said. “With that being said, employers have every right to discipline those athletes if their words go against the mission statement of a team or organization.”

Odinet said that it is important for us to purge out the facts and the fiction and to remember who we are listening to.

“We can’t possibly know how well informed the athletes are. The important thing is that we take their words and thoughts with a grain of salt,” Odinet said.

Junior football player Marques White ’19 stressed the importance of athletes voicing their opinions in the right way.

“There is a lot of power that comes with being an athlete,” White said. “I love how LeBron voices his opinion in the right manner, I feel like Kaepernick could have voiced his opinion in a better way.”

White said that being a well known athlete on campus comes with responsibility.

“Being an athlete myself at a school like Brophy with underclassmen looking up to me, it’s important to be a good role model and conduct myself in a professional manner,” White said.

Senior baseball player Connor Park ’18 believes that athletes who speak their mind stimulate discussion amongst people.

“To pigeonhole athletes and not let them talk about their opinions is unfair,” Park said. “Using any platform to speak their mind makes for good discussion.”

Eric Chalmers ’10 is the varsity tennis coach as well as the campaign manager for Mayor Greg Stanton’s congressional campaign.

“People who watch basketball and football games are seen as voters to the campaign trail,” Chalmers said. “As a politician, it is our job to be responsive to the concerns of the voters and the athletes help drive these conversations by opening political dialogue to a wider audience.”

Chalmers discussed the history of athletes using their voices and the nature of athletes being a catalyst for more discussion.

Chalmers discussed the history of athletes political activity in society.

“Everytime there has been a social movement that has been started, the athletes pick up on them. Colin Kaepernick kneeling has forced people to start having the conversations of the issues of police violence and relations in America.” said Chalmers.

Chalmers believes that there is a benefit to athletes voices in the community with their ability to reach all audiences.  He stressed the importance however of voter education, saying that it is our responsibility to form our own opinions based off of facts and not opinions.

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