Various sports organizations support Black Lives Matter


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Borussia Monchengladbach player Marcus Thuram takes a knee after scoring a goal in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Terra Nagai, Sports Editor

Sports leagues across the world have finally resumed seasons after a six-month hiatus due to the coronavirus. However, the pandemic has been joined by a social justice issue lasting centuries in becoming the topic of popular discussion. 

On May 25, the murder of 46-year-old George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin was recorded on video and went viral. This incident fueled the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement in full force, not only shedding more light on the movement, but also unifying those against police brutality. Among these people were athletes, sports teams and organizations that had different ways of raising awareness toward the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The main goal of all supporters of this movement was clear: to bring justice for all African American citizens who fell victim to racially motivated violence.

One of the many sports teams calling for justice is the UNC women’s soccer team. Junior and soccer player Caroline Messier believes actions taken by widely recognized sports organizations have a big impact toward the movement.

“The team all wore ‘Black Lives Matter’ jerseys and I thought it was really inspiring,” Messier said. “A lot of young girls and teens who look up to athletes can become more educated while following their favorite sports teams.”

Another organization using their platform to fight for social justice reform is the NBA, as players knelt during the national anthem, wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts before games, and also had phrases or words such as “Equality” or “How Many More” on the back of their jerseys. Sophomore Josh Min believes their actions are a good step toward racial and social justice.

“NBA teams knelt before every game and at one point they threatened to boycott the season by not playing,” Min said. “It shows that justice is more important than basketball for the players.”

Senior and football player Matt Harper agrees with Min in that the NBA is doing well in spreading awareness. After the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 23, NBA teams refused to play. However, the NBA announced later that training facilities and stadiums will be used as polling sites for the upcoming election, and the players and teams returned to play. The purpose of the conversion is to promote more civic engagement in national and local elections, and to create a platform to promote social justice.

“I personally think it’s a good thing that a league with so many African American players shows support,” Harper said. “I think that the NBA doing these things is helpful in that they recognize that they have a young and impressionable audience and can use their platform to spread their message of an equal and anti-racist ideology.”

While leagues such as the NBA and NFL advocate for change, other leagues such as NASCAR are enforcing new laws to show their support. After the only African-American driver, Darrell Wallace, encouraged the banning of the confederate flag from races, he received support and praise from other drivers that considered the flag to symbolize hate.

“I was proud of the NBA and NFL showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and having their players stand together in a display of unity,” Harper said. “I’m even more proud as NASCAR banned the display of the confederate flag at their race tracks.”

From the MLB adding the “Black Lives Matter” logo next to the MLB logo on the pitcher’s mound, to Matt Dumba in the NHL becoming the first player to kneel during the anthem, the sports world as a whole is fighting for the movement.

“What made me happy was when sports players kneel,” Min said. “It’s pretty cool seeing that no matter what race the players are, they all fight for the same cause.”