Major sports leagues make solid plays to spread awareness about social injustice and Black Lives Matter

Megan Julian, Sports Editor

Sept. 1 will mark four years since Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the national anthem during a preseason game for the San Francisco 49ers.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in an exclusive interview with NFL media.

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away,” Kaepernick said.

Fast forward to 2020 and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wishes the league listened earlier to Kaepernick when he began protesting four years ago.

George Floyd’s death sent shock waves throughout the country and had a huge impact on the sports world.

Even though sports were mostly on hold when this happened, athletes still made it a point to express their own feelings and beliefs.

Athletes like LeBron James, a power forward for the Lakers, have been speaking out against police brutality and social injustice while advocating for movements like Black Lives Matter. James has done this since 2014 when he wore a warm up t-shirt that said “I can’t breathe,” to honor Eric Garner who died in New York after an incident of police brutality.

On May 31, 2020, James posted the following tweet:

“Why Doesn’t America Love US!!!!!????TOO.”

Recently, the NBA and NBPA allowed players to put messages on the back of their own jerseys instead of their own names, in order to show their support for Black Lives Matter.

Messages allowed on the back of the jerseys include “Black Lives Matter,” “I Can’t Breathe,” “Vote,” “Justice,” “Stand Up,” “Listen,” “Listen to Us,” “Say Their Names” and many more.

In addition to this, some NBA teams kneeled for the national anthem while others didn’t.

Johnathan Issac from the Orlando Magic decided not to kneel for the national anthem or wear a warmup shirt with a message. In the press conference after the game, he was asked if he believed Black lives matter.

“Absolutely,” Isaac said. “I believe that Black lives matter. A lot went into my decision and part of it is my thought that kneeling while wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt doesn’t go hand in hand with supporting Black lives,” Issac said.

Former NBA players are actively trying to make a change. Michael Jordan and his brand decided to donate $100 million to the Black community in order to achieve equality, help overcome social justice and give people access to education.

Another major league sport that has been spreading awareness for Black Lives Matter is the MLB. Former and present players helped create a video on Twitter that shows their support for the movement.

On opening day, the Yankees and the Washington Nationals took 60 seconds for a moment of silence and knelt before the national anthem played.

In addition to football, baseball and basketball players trying to get these messages across, the NHL also has a few players who have kneeled during the anthem. Matt Dumba, Ryan Reaves, Robin Lehner, Tyler Seguin and Jason Dickinson all took a knee on the ice before a game started during the national anthem.

Many of these major league sports demonstrated that they have had enough of racism and social injustice. Athletes are using their platforms in order to make a change.