Cabrini athletes are getting involved in the political process ahead of the Tuesday, Nov. 3, general election.
Softball player Kadirah Williams, men’s basketball player Keith Blassingale and Ashley Tutzauer, a member of the women’s soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams, are all voting in the upcoming election, and have voiced their thoughts about the issues that matter to them.
“I think athletes getting involved politically is very important,” Williams, a junior mathematics major, said. “Spreading the importance of voting is key within today’s society.”
Williams said that she has taken the time to vote herself, and has also tried to get those around her to participate in the 2020 election.
Blassingale, a senior marketing major, is voting by mail to make sure he has a say in who is elected to positions of power.
“I had my ballot shipped to my house so I can vote,” he said. “And it is important because there are a lot of negative things going [on] that we need to see changed and the people in power are not doing it.”
This is the first presidential election that Tutzauer, a senior education major, is able to vote in, she said, and she is making sure to participate because of the ramifications it will have on so many people’s lives.
Each athlete has a certain political issue that they are most passionate about during this election. Blassingale emphasized police reform, mentioning the police shooting a Black man in nearby Philadelphia on Monday as an example of why it is needed. Williams is voting with a focus of fighting for equality for African-American and LGBTQ+ people. Tutzauer said her most important political issues are Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights and women’s rights.
All three are in agreement that athletes at both the amateur and professional level should be politically active if they have certain issues that they are passionate and informed about.
“I think it’s good that athletes at all levels get involved because we are all people,” Tutzauer said. “[We] have a voice and the right to contribute.”
Williams especially pointed out the impact professional athletes can have politically due to their large platforms and publicity.
“Pro athletes have such an impact on people,” she said. “They can change the world one step at a time.”
This goes against what some have said about athletes voicing their political beliefs. Certain fans and media personalities alike have spoken out against athletes being politically active. A prominent example came in 2018, when a conservative media personality told National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James to “shut up and dribble.”
Williams, Blassingale and Tutzauer do not believe in that phrase, instead thinking that sports players can and should do their best to do what they think is right.
“People who say ‘shut up and dribble’ are not being inclusive to everyone, and they are in fact the reason why the country is split by the things they say and do,” Tutzauer said.
Blassingale made the point that athletes should be free to participate in activism like any other person in the country.
“Athletes are hard-working citizens, too,” he said, “and are entitled to their own opinions.”