Should professional and/or amateur athletes be allowed to freely express their views and opinions regarding social and political issues? Absolutely.
Should professional and/or amateur athletes be allowed to use their team’s local, regional, or national brand as a platform for their personal demonstration regarding social and political issues? Absolutely not!!
Case in point is the current Colin Kaepernick kerfuffle. All athletes have always had the First Amendment right to protest alleged social injustices or voice their particular political views on their personal time. However, to use his NFL team’s national presence to express his opinions regarding his perceived suppression of a particular demographic’s civil rights (of which he is a member) is not only unprofessional but selfish and hypocritical as well.
His actions are unprofessional because they take away his focus from the task at hand, namely his job as an NFL quarterback and winning football games to advance his team’s standing. It is selfish because now instead of the fans being able to focus on the team and the game, he has made it made it about himself and his personal opinion regarding a social issue in an arena where people look to escape the rigors of such disputes if even for a few hours. Lastly it is hypocritical as he is protesting a supposed suppression of a minority group, of which he is a member, while simultaneously making tens of millions of dollars to play a game for entertainment. Perhaps he will get to sit on the bench during many other minutes and hours of the game in the future to ponder the rationality of his decision making abilities and formulate a better way to voice his concerns.
By Dr. Vincent K. Ramsey
Dr. Vincent K. Ramsey, is the Chair of Sports Exercise Science at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.