The shooting of James Blake in Wisconsin brought more attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, drawing outrage from professional sports teams.
“Athletes in our country are celebrities,” junior Jesse Steyer said, “so when they choose to boycott, it makes people realize how serious they are about the issue.”
The Milwaukee Bucks basketball team boycotted their game against the Orlando Magic on Aug. 26, and other NBA and WNBA teams followed suit.
“The boycotts are a great way to put pressure on team owners and league management to get involved with Black Lives Matter,” senior Luke Moore said, “especially in leagues such as the NBA and NFL, where the majority of athletes are Black.”
Professional athletes say that they cannot play sports when violence against racial minorities continues.
“Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus cannot be on basketball,” Bucks player Sterling Brown said in a prepared statement from the team.
The first time the movement against police brutality mixed with sports was when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem on Sept. 1, 2016.
“He took a lot of heat for that,” Steyer said about Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem. “He innovated the idea of taking a knee as a form of protest, which was then adopted and amplified by the players today.”
Some students who say they do not experience racial discrimination also say they agree with teams standing up for social justice.
“People like me, whose skin color is white, makes them have a much greater chance of benefiting from racial bias,” Desnoyers-Piña said. “If teams, who have a big influence on many people, become activists and show that this problem needs to be fixed now, then people who look up to athletes will follow them.”
NFL teams are protesting in various forms, with some choosing to kneel or stay in their locker rooms during the national anthem, while others are wearing names of victims of police brutality on their helmets.
“During the pandemic, since there isn’t as much to do, people really are paying attention to the televised games,” Steyer said. “These protests are drawing the attention of many people in our country whose lives have not personally been touched by