NBA Social Justice Movement

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Javier Sarmiento Jr, Staff Writer

The NBA allows players to express their opinions about social issues, without criticism or scrutiny.

Everyone has a voice. They can say what they want to say.

Freedom of speech is the first amendment in the constitution. Athletes have a platform to create change, inspire, and influence people by using the power of free speech. I believe athletes have an obligation to speak up on issues that affect their communities.

Speaking up on social justice issues and police brutality is important. African Americans are the ones most affected by police brutality. As a minority myself, seeing police brutality displayed as a common occurrence with no justice being served is very disappointing and disheartening.

People with a platform should speak up. Sometimes, athletes don’t speak up because of backlash from fans. They want to maintain a clean reputation.

My question is… When is the social injustice enough to take action? When are we allowed to speak up without rebuttal?

LeBron James and Kevin Durant have platforms. They have made it known that they disagree with the social injustice issues going on in America. Why shouldn’t they use their platforms to spread awareness?

They have powerful voices and are known by millions for doing great things.

People say, “Shut up and dribble.”

This statement is so disrespectful and condescending. It conveys the message that athletes should stick to sports and not share their opinions on issues that affect their communities.

Athletes aren’t robots. They are human like the rest of us.

The cruel murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Elijah McClain, Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner, Botham Jean, Michael Brown, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Johnathan Price, David McAtee, and countless others is why athletes using their platforms to spread awareness is so important.

People say, “take politics out of sports.”

But politics are a part of our daily lives. If you don’t get involved with it, it’s going to get involved with you. These issues aren’t politics. These are human rights issues. It’s what’s right and what’s wrong. We should all speak up.

So, the next time you see a player take a knee, remember that institutionalized racism is an ongoing human rights issue dating back more than 400 years. This is not just 2020 politics. It’s the innocent lives of African American brothers and sisters being taken by members of law enforcement.