Sports and Politics: Athletes Need To Put Up Or Shut Up

LeBron Leads the League in Hypocrisy

( – Modern-day professional athletes have long been revered by the masses to the point that rival team bitterness can endure for decades. Consider today’s rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees has its roots in the trade of Babe Ruth in 1919.

With the advent of social media, the words and opinions of these so-called heroes can reach tens of millions of people in a split second. When one combines social media and their status, those words carry great weight.

False Narratives

When some athletes speak on the racial violence spreading across the country, they’re speaking from first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to grow up in poverty in gang-infested neighborhoods. Others make it sound like they’ve shared those experiences, but just a little digging can cast a shadow over those claims.

One of the best-known names in the sports world today is Lebron James, whose Twitter feed is filled with rants about President Donald Trump and intimations on how similar his own life was compared to the likes of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor.

But one must wonder how much commonality there is between them and the teenager who got a scholarship to a private high school, traveled the country with his buddies, and whose mother “bought” him a $50,000 Hummer in 2003 based on his prospective earnings for playing a game?

Playing Politics

It’s not just individual players either. Now, entire organizations are trying to insert themselves into the political arena and dictate national policy. It seems they forget that they’re part of the entertainment industry and the people that keep them in business are a mix of both Liberal and Conservative.

The players and ownership of the Baltimore Ravens decided that it was appropriate to use the income generated from all their fans to demand that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) bring a piece of legislation to the floor of the chamber. They want the partisan “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020” recently passed by the House of Representatives to be brought up for a vote, even though there are several sections Conservatives object to.

One 10th

The hypocrisy runs far beyond LeBron (who’s used here as an example due to his household name status) because many athletes are doing the same. But, only some of them have stepped up to make a serious difference when compared to their lavish lifestyles. A quick perusal of some of the reality TV shows available clearly captures their penchant for private jets, yachts, and multimillion-dollar mansions. And, while what they give back to their communities is not insignificant, it’s but a drop in the proverbial bucket of that wealth.

Available statistics show that the total payout to the players of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL for the 2019-20 seasons is approximately $15 billion. This is a staggering sum by just about any measure other than the government. If the athletes banded together and committed a tithe — just 10% — that would mean $1.5 billion this year alone to support those communities they pretend to care so much about.

Human beings are very adept at pointing out all the ills of the world and telling someone else to go take care of the problem. Perhaps it’s time people should stop fawning over these people and listening to their rhetoric and say to them, “you have far more resources than I do, so put your money where your mouth is.” Then again, perhaps that’s exactly what’s happening with the dismal television rating performance the NBA is seeing during this year’s playoffs.

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