With the rise of celebrities using their platform to express their opinions on issues concerning all things COVID-19, social justice and the presidential campaign, the role of athletes on the field has been called into question.
Many people view sports as entertainment, which has led to the notion that athletes lose their personality and become a pawn under the stadium lights for the viewer’s amusement.
However, just like with any other job or career field, an athlete is still a human while on the field, diamond or court.
The tall stadium lights, roaring fans and scoreboard should not overshadow or trump the humanity that still exist within any athlete who suits up for your favorite sports teams.
These athletes have hardships, opinions and backgrounds that influence their stances on issues in the same way that those who sit on their couches screaming at the television do.
Athletes do not forfeit their ability to be human because they are involved with an industry that is referred to as an “escape.”
Fans cry and feel a sense of pride over Tom Rinaldi’s stories on College Game Day as they hear the heroic tales that highlight the humanity of student-athletes, but continue to blast teams and athletes on social media for showing that same humanity through expressing their opinions.
The cries of boycotting professional or collegiate sports because of athletes expressing their opinion places an unfair requirement on athletes to throw away rights guaranteed by the Constitution to entertain the masses.
Now is the time that fans need to begin to realize that athletes are more than the number on their jersey or the team that they play for and begin to support athletes as people, first.