ISAFISPEAK #4 : Political Statements/Movements in Sports

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On the June Edition of ISAFISPEAK Series, our members will speak about their opinions on Political Statements/Movements that has been more prominent in the last couple of years. check out opinions from 4 of our members in this post!


“Sports has always been a medium to make political statements, especially in fields closely related to social spheres. A recent example is NFL player Collin Kaepernick knelt during the US National Anthem at one of his games to do a gesture that call attention on the issue of racism and inequality in the US. Since Kaepernick’s display of peaceful protest at the 2016 NFL there has been many responses both positive and negative. Other athletes like Eric Reid and Albert Wilson have joined in Kaepernick’s stance and political display by kneeling. Like other instances of public political display, there is bound to be some backlash. Since Kaepernick’s display of peaceful protest he has since been kicked out of his team and has not played any games since 2016. but he serves as a monumental ally in the Black Lives Matter movement in sports. I believe that anyone that has a big enough platform has the right to speak out on what they believe in and not face any direct harm to their career unless what they believe is harmful and threatens others. This is an example, that any position of power should not be used to question or undermine the legitimacy of important issues at hand. And the process of building awareness of said issue.”

Do you think sport is a better medium for making political statements?

“Although sport is a really nice medium for making political statements because of huge fanbases. I think we should make it clear that it’s unethical to do that.”

Do you think sport is better without politics?

“We have to acknowledge that would never be better without politics. I mean, we should look back to the USA-USSR rivalry in the Olympic Games that created huge impact for its sports programme. It’s also happened around us, just look at the Indonesia-Malaysia rivalry in football. We will never see that huge and fiery rivalry without the 1960s Indonesian “Konfrontasi” in Northern Borneo. Those rivalries created huge attractions in sports. And the political motives behind that push lots of improvements that make sports become better and much better.”

Do you think that political statements through sport can make an impact?

“Yes, due to its large fanbases, it will be a very good place to agitate your political agendas. Just look at the 1936 Summer Olympics. The Nazi Party became stronger and greater due to their successful in organizing that year’s games.”

Do you think sport is better without politics?

“No, I don’t think so. Because some sports and its rivalries, exists from politics. Like Real Madrid-FC Barcelona, Celtic-Rangers, Liverpool-Manchester, they were all born from politics. So literally, you can’t separate sports and politics. Because politics is always been a part of the sport itself.”

Do you think that political statements through sport can make an impact?

“Yes, and there are many examples of that. One of them, are the No Room for Racism programme by Premier League, We Race as One in Formula 1 (F1) and many others. The Athletes, such as Harry Kane, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel supported the movement. Making the programme reach more audiences.”

“For me, sports is a legitimate medium to make political statements. Some people might say that politics does not belong in sports, but I disagree, sports is a capable tool to talk politics. The sheer amount of public watching sports can be a great way to make an impact. Didier Drogba single handedly ended a Civil War in the Ivory Coast by declaring peace after getting them to the World Cup. Many NBA Players have spoken up about racial issues under the Trump’s government. I think spreading political messages through sports are really fine as they reach not only certain people that like politics, but also apolitical ones. Sports fans get to understand issues that they simply won’t understand and research were it not for the athlete political statements.”