The Black Lives Matter movement is on the rise, and yet, it needs more social support. Whether it is societal indifference or state inaction, the current state of affairs for the communities of color is not just. In order to change the status quo, the opinions of celebrities are essential. Considering the popularity of sports, statements of athletes can reach many ears and change the perspectives of tens of thousands of people. Understanding the reasons for the influence of celebrities in society is essential for ascertaining the appropriate motivation for greater participation of sport athletes in BLM social activism.
The problem under focus is a social issue, reverberating in many societies. All problems on such scale develop depending on the amount of attention from the public. The more social awareness there is the greater impact people who promote a certain idea can have. As numerous studies have ascertained, media attention creates public interest, which, in its turn, resonates within society. Beyond a certain point, the majority of the population will be aware of the issue in question. At this stage, the presence of influential people becomes immensely important. The more support is gained from celebrities, the more certain the public will be of the righteousness of the movement.
Sport athletes have always had a large influence on society. Due to them being known for their achievements, many people attach enormous meaning to social and political views of their favorite athletes. As the world became intrinsically connected, more and more professional sportsmen acted as social activists. Access to media and large gatherings of followers enable athletes to take a civil stand, which is noticeable. Ranging from small and subtle acts, such as refusing to stand during a national anthem on the playing field, to attending and spearheading meetings and protests, the manifestations of sport social activism is varied and multifaceted.
Black Lives Matter is one of the most promoted social issues in the last years. Although the problem of discrimination against the communities of color is an old affair, emerging from a history of oppression, the BLM movement is relatively new, having existed for only eight years. Nevertheless, today, this slogan is seen on many headlines, screens, and clothes. The fact that the United States presidential elections were influenced by the BLM protests speaks for itself. Probably, these people would not have gathered so much following had there not been promotion from renowned celebrities and athletes, in particular.
It is no surprise that the message of the BLM movement resonated most strongly among African-American athletes. For example, Jrue Holiday, a basketball player, launched a social justice fund based on his game checks, which are worth more than five million dollars. His action has accentuated the problem of state ignorance towards the population of color. Considering the lack of care and for the businesses owned by African-Americans, Holiday showcased the benevolence of the BLM movement. Such news stories are important because they draw attention to the celebrities’ social responsibility and motivate other black athletes to help the same cause.
However, not only sportsmen of African descent spoke out as some white athletes have also expressed their support for the BLM. Bubba Wallace is stock car racing driver, who openly stated his position on the presence of the Confederate flags in NASCAR events. Following his statements, the NASCAR removed these flags and prohibited their use. Moreover, in one of the races, Wallace drove a car with a BLM paint scheme. His actions have drawn attention to the social indifference towards the oppression of black communities. However, what is more important, is that Wallace’s words actually had an effect on NASCAR and its position regarding the BLM.
Within this context, it can be safely stated that sport athletes can and do tip the narrative. If such small actions as public statements can cause so much impact, it is reasonable to actively encourage the celebrities to openly express their views. Therefore, in my opinion, the BLM leadership should appeal to famous sport athletes who are sympathetic to their cause. They should emphasize how much impact they can make with small actions.
The BLM leadership can also appeal to the social responsibility of celebrities and their societal sway. This encouragement may motivate the sport stars to feel personally responsible for changing public opinion. If implemented, this action would make celebrities more vocal and supportive of the BLM. As has already been mentioned, support from famous individuals can positively influence public opinions.
Altogether, it should be evident that social indifference and state inactivity exacerbate the problems of the communities of color. The reason for this is the lack of sufficient public and media attention. Sport celebrities can recognize and address this issue by openly stating their positions. Appealing to the athletes’ sense of personal responsibility is the first step in tipping the narrative. If famous sportsmen do not act now, the chances are that the Black Lives Matter movement will not gather sufficient support, and its efforts of upholding the communities of color will be in vain.