In the article, “The Era of the Sports God who Shuns Politics is Sadly Over,” written by Clay Travis, Is about the influence of politics in sports, and how it completely changed the meaning of professional sports. In the article, Travis starts off by explaining how Michael Jordan, who is the “sports god” written in the title, was the biggest role model in sports history. But he wasn’t too focused on just Jordan’s skill as a basketball player, though he did mention that this era was when sports was about skill rather than influence. Travis claims that Jordan was the ideal athlete, exclusively because when he was questioned on why he doesn’t act on political situations, he replied, “Republicans buy sneakers too.” By this he meant that he wanted to appeal to everyone. Now while this does make sense, this is the only example of his ideal athlete when it comes to political views.
Personally, I agree to an extent on this idea. I think that athletes should be able to express their political views as citizens of the United States. However sometimes I believe some athletes have taken protesting a little far. Colin Kaepernick for example, took a knee during the National Anthem come his 2016 season. Travis described this as the result of being benched for lack of performance. This was confusing, and seemed very opinionated, especially when it was clear that he did so to bring awareness to police brutality in the U.S. Now I do believe that this is an ongoing issue, but the National Anthem represents our rights as Americans, and respect for those who have fought to earn it. Kneeling down is disrespecting those soldiers, especially the ones who have given their lives doing so. In my opinion, he could have taken different measures, but that doesn’t mean he was entirely wrong.
Another big topic that Clay Travis had mentioned was the influence of social media on the public, and how personalized and aggressive it could be. He states that many people seek influence and information from social media, which is very easily opinionated, and often gives off a lot of false news. Travis also mentions how social media may, “…appeal to many of the worst impulses of American life”(Travis 2) This is often true. Social Media often targets peoples’ worst qualities, falsifying many personalities. It persuades people that their opinion alone is good, while everyone else’s is wrong and bad. He also makes the point that social media had an influence directly onto politics by saying, “It is no coincidence that in the age of social media both Democrats and Republicans nominated the most hated people to ever run for office in 2016” (Travis 2). He implies, and I agree, that because of the powerful influence that social media possesses, the country has split apart, in both politics and sports. Because of this influence, athletes have also used their popular social media accounts to express themselves. Now Travis believes that it’s these athletes that are worsening this political divide and increasing the influence of social media. Whether or not this is true is obsolete, because politics are strictly based off of opinions. But athletes being able to express themselves is part of their most basic rights. They are also able to represent communities whose voices are unheard by higher powers in economics.
Therefore, athletes being able to express their political views has no harm on anything but what they believe to be corrupt government powers. This only lets them speak up on their own opinions allows them to speak up for entire communities that are unheard by anyone important. Professional athletes are also citizens of the United States, and are allowed to speak up on their opinions, and are allowed to have as much influence as a politician, even if they don’t have the same experience, because it’s only their opinion, and it’s up to anyone else to agree or disagree.