Should Athletes “Stick to Sports”?

By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and Facebook.com/CoachMcCartan)

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J.- Is it the responsibility of an athlete to capitalize on the platform he/she has earned from their respective leagues and teams to dictate their opinions on topics other than sports?

Athletes should absolutely “stick to sports” and leave their political, economic, and social ideals to themselves.  Perhaps this is a logical thought process, but athletes should do the job that they’re paid to do: play sports. Period.

Why should fans be subjected to his/her individual ideals? What if the fan fundamentally and vehemently disagrees with his/her favorite athlete’s point of view?  Would he/she still be a fan of that player? That, inherently, will create a division among the fanbase and create a finger-pointing chaos with no real solution.  I am a proponent of the proverb: ‘actions peak louder than words’.

Enough with the rhetoric.

By November 2013, the word ‘selfie’ was used often enough to be added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which was created in 1831!  Unfortunately, we live in a society where people are obsessed with themselves and are ‘shouting’ their opinions to others without really listening to the other side’s point of view.  Thus, meaningful dialogue cannot, and does not occur. Meaningful dialogue is paramount to enacting relevant and purposeful change.

If athletes want to enact real change, instead of announcing their beliefs on a (virtual) megaphone, they should run for office, create policies that fit their agenda, and lobby for them. After all, we live in a democracy. I know what you are thinking: with an athlete’s schedule, that is non-realistic.  I agree.  There are other ways they can enact meaningful change. Off the top of my head… what if athletes: co-authored a bill with a senator? Appeared at voter registration events? Produced and disseminated well-researched, factual, and non-biased pieces?  Athletes should not use their platform as a member of a professional organization to, sometimes unprovoked, impose their beliefs on fans of all ages, including the youngest and most impressionable.

At my day job, I have a platform to reach 125+ people (that I have a working relationship with) daily.  That does not mean that I am or should be spewing my rhetoric everywhere!  It is morally and ethically wrong.  At my job, I stick to doing…. my job. Athletes should do the same. Even you, Martellus Bennett: put down your Twitter fingers and do your job.

* I appeared on Robin Lundberg’s Stick To Sports on 8/16/17 to discuss this matter, of which I am passionate.  Robin had me so riled up that I even spelled “Athletes” wrong – simple mistake that I hope you, as an avid reader of my website, will dismiss.

Check out the clip, below:

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