Sports and Social Justice


Andy Behrman, Writer

In late August Jacob Blake, a black man, was shot by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis., 40 miles south of Milwaukee. The incident has become a focal point for political activism by the Milwaukee Bucks team and other athletes, and is only one of several examples this summer.

With a star in Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks had a decent shot on going all the way. However, they willingly put that at risk and sacrificed a chance of losing an NBA Championship for a cause greater than any ring or trophy. The Bucks were the first team to boycott the NBA as a protest against the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer on Aug. 23. They made a statement that called for racial justice and police reform. Soon, the other NBA playoff teams joined the Bucks and postponed a total of nine playoff games in a total of three days. 

This is not the only example of the call to end racial injustice in sports this summer. For instance, a historic event occurred at Talladega in June this summer. (No, Will Ferrell did not beat a French driver running on foot). Bubba Wallace’s car was pushed out of the pit by every driver and pit crew member at the racetrack. Bubba Wallace is a black driver who found a noose in his garage before the race. NASCAR drivers and fans gathered in support with Wallace and called out to the audience to end racism. 

When the MLB and the NHL finally started back up, they started with both teams locking arms in unison as a sign to end racism. Formula One did its part in the fight to end racism by having their drivers wear shirts that say “End Racism” or “Black Lives Matter” while on the podium. On Sept. 13, the best driver in the league, Lewis Hamilton, had a shirt on the podium that said, “Arrest the Police who killed Breonna Taylor,” after winning the Tuscan Grand Prix. All along the race track are signs that say “We Race As One.” On opening day in football, just like the MLB and the NHL, both the Texans and the Chiefs locked arms and stood as one together before the game started. Some players continued what Colin Kaepernick started back in 2016 and also knelt during the national anthem. 

Coming back to basketball, before the boycott even started and the playoffs were just beginning, players wore jerseys saying, “Black Lives Matter, Justice, Equality, etc.” where their name usually is on the back. These are just some of the examples the sports world has done in these past few months to try to fight racism.

One could compare this time to Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer ever, who fought in 1960 all the way to 1981 in a time where the black community needed someone to look up to. He stood for something worth fighting for and used his platform to speak out against injustice. Today, many sports are standing up as one. Black, white, Latino, fighting for liberty and justice for all.