Athletes have the power to make change

By Troy Scott
May 2, 2021

Growing up in the United States, people are taught about people who have helped make a change in our society. People like Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Ruth Ginsburg and many more are always mentioned to students when learning about activism. These are very important figures in American history as they have been on the ground building their support for the cause. Even in current times, the Black Lives Matter movement, March For Our Lives, and the L.G.B.T.Q.+ protests have been influential on American society.

One area that has been glazed over and is currently a hot topic is the idea of having athletes become involved in social issues. People like Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King and Jim Brown were all athletes that have helped make a change in the country. Personally, these are my heroes as well because of the fact they used their platforms for the betterment of the country. Throughout time, athletes like Pat Tillman and David Robertson have served in the military either during or before their respective professional careers. Tillman gave the ultimate sacrifice as a result of his serving in Afghanistan.

I take a lot of inspiration from all of these athletes as they have been a staple of society for a long time. I am a person who believes young people, especially young athletes, should get involved with social issues and community engagement. This has been a taboo subject that has numerous athletes in a war between whether they should or should not get involved and just play their respective sport.

LeBron James, considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, has caught heat from numerous people regarding his comments. The latest person that voiced his opinion about James is legendary striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“[LeBron] is phenomenal at what he’s doing, but I don’t like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time,” Ibrahimovic said. “Do what you’re good at. Do the category you do. I play football because I’m the best at playing football.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic thinks that it is not a good look for athletes to be involved with politics. “Zlatan Ibrahimovic” by Doha Stadium Plus is licensed under CC BY 2.0

James’s teammate, Dennis Schröder, responded to Ibrahimovic in support of LeBron James.

“Every athlete can use our platform and try to make change in this world,” Schröder said. “Zlatan, he’s a little different. Unique player, unique character.”

This will forever be a topic that will have some tension between both points of view.

While on topic with the world of soccer there are other organizations that are trying to help push for a better worldwide society. Common Goal, Kick It Out, and other organizations are pushing on the fight around the world.

Zack Steffen, who is the starting goalkeeper for USMNT and Manchester City Football Club, is one of the athletes who are looking to make a change. Steffen was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania and grew up in Delaware County. Steffen along with other friends and professional soccer players launched VoyceNow.

Zack Steffen is one of the new generations of athletes that are becoming involved with social issues.
The mission of the organization is to unite athletes and their fans through advocacy and action to support and celebrate diversity in communities across the world.

File:Zack Steffen on June 9, 2019.jpg
Steffen (pictured) is the founder of the organization VOYCENOW, which aims to fight injustice in the United States. “File:Zack Steffen on June 9, 2019.jpg” by Jamie Smed is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“File:Zack Steffen on June 9, 2019.jpg” by Jamie Smed is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Over the summer, I was able to get in contact with Steffen via email. While working with him and the other developers, I was able to get in contact with the Philadelphia Boys and Girls Club and help out. We are currently working on ways to get Cabrini athletics involved with the organization and help out in the community. Whether it is a food and clothes drive or to be on the ground and helping children in intercity communities.

The new generation of athletes is active in the field of social justice in ways never seen before. Kids are now seeing these sports heroes become involved with everyday life and can be inspired in other ways than just through sport.


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Troy Scott

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