Support African American athletes

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At game time for a scheduled game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, referees gather on an empty court. This was in protest of police violence and brutality. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

 When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, the country put a halt to sports in order to keep athletes safe from the virus. However, over time, many of the sports leagues created safe, healthy methods to continue lost and broken seasons.  

Why are we not doing the same for racial oppression in America?  

Human lives are still at stake; Black American citizens are being killed by White police officers across the country, and then these same police officers are going home to watch and idolize the African-American athletes that are on the television screen. Why should a league such as the NBA, which is predominantly made up of African-American athletes, continue to play when people just like them are suffering at the hands of a system and nation that continues to oppress them? When the coronavirus posed a threat to the safety of athletes across the country, play was stopped. Although it was initially met with some opposition, it made sense to keep the players safe until an alternative method to play was found. How come we cannot apply this to racial injustice? Until changes to the nation are brought forth in order to discontinue the oppression against African Americans, sports should take a break. I believe the NBA, WNBA and every other league that decided to boycott games is absolutely justified in doing so. It is another way for their voices to be heard, and something as prominent as professional sports stopping play can have a major impact on our world and can be the beginning of a revolutionary change that comes to America.  

Some may argue that deciding not to play sports removes the opportunity for the athletes to use their platforms to advocate for change. The NBA and WNBA have been at the forefront of this, painting “Black Lives Matter” on all of the courts and incorporating names of victims and assorted social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys. While the platform of national television will be removed if athletes continue to boycott games, they still have other methods to promote the need for change, such as social media, peaceful protests and marches. Also, the boycotting of games is a huge peaceful protest in itself, indicating that these athletes want change before they play the sports they love.  

The bottom line is this: If we were concerned about our athletes when the virus hit, then there is no reason why we should not support their decision to stop playing when something that we have only known about since January was taken care of sooner than something that has been impacting this country for over 400 years. Right now, professional sports are doing more to bring to light and make changes to racial injustice than any government organization. This is bigger than sports. We should support African-American athletes and their decisions until every citizen of this country is not oppressed simply because of the color of their skin. Although I am a White male, and have never experienced this kind of oppression in my life, I will attempt to use my platform as a student athlete and Daily Campus writer to bring to light the issues that continue to impact African Americans in our country. I will work hard with my teammates and fellow students to try and bring change to our nation that is over 400 years overdue.  

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