BLM Movement gains strength amongst professional athletes

The Black Lives Matter Movement has been growing throughout the world in recent months, and the sports industry is no stranger to the movement’s impact. 

With athletes across the globe participating in a variety of protests, supporting the cause and speaking out on social media, the assumption is that this behavior will continue on their respective fields of play. 

As European football resumed play before other sports, many look to them as a model of how the movement can be transitioned into the sports world. The players have been seen wearing Black Lives Matter clothing items and kneeling at the start of games to demonstrate their support.

The first league to demonstrate their support for the movement was the German soccer league, Bundesliga.

According to Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, or the governing body of the world’s football, “For the avoidance of doubt in a FIFA competition, the recent demonstrations of players in Bundesliga matches would deserve an applause and not a punishment.”

With American sports making a return since the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been left wondering how American athletes will show their support for the BLM Movement. 

Several athletes immediately took to social media when the movement gained steam, including LeBron James and Serena Williams who confronted the situation head on. 

Many athletes also took part in Blackout Tuesday on June 2, in which social media and other business operations were put on pause to shed light on the racial injustices around the world by sharing a black photo on one’s timeline. 

Athletes did not shy away from taking the lead in protests as well, as former NBA player Stephen Jackson took on a leadership role. Jackson even referred to the late George Floyd as his twin in a display of strength and unity. 

The NBA has become player-led league over the last decade, with players freely and openly speaking out on social issues. Under the commission of Adam Silver, this behavior has not only been tolerated but encouraged of the players.

“I think we have had a rule on our books that goes back to the early 80s, that precedes even David Stern’s tenure as commissioner, that calls for players to stand in a line and attention during the national anthem. I also understand the role of protest, and I think that we’ll deal with that situation when it presents itself,” said Silver at a June 30 press conference when asked about players kneeling during the national anthem. 

The NBA will be painting “Black Lives Matter” on all courts used in the restart of the league to demonstrate their support through action.

In addition to the NBA, the NFL has been a major subject of conversation when it comes to kneeling during the national anthem. The NFL can attribute this conversation to quarterback Colin Kapernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem as a way to bring awareness to police brutality and the oppression of people of color. 

Several players have expressed their intent to kneel during the anthem, including Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Alivn Kamara.

“I have the utmost respect for our military, cops and people that serve OUR country,” shared Mayfield, the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, in a social media post. “It’s about equality and everybody being treated the same because we are all human. It’s been ignored for too long, and that is my fault as well for not becoming more educated and staying silent. If I lose fans, that’s O.K. I’ve always spoken my mind. And that’s from the heart.”

The MLB has also shown their commitment to the movement by donating over $1 million dollars to different organizations that support the BLM Movement. Like the NBA and NFL, MLB teams and players have also shown their support through various social media posts.