Star Athletes Use Platform for Message: Vote, Please

Star+Athletes+Use+Platform+for+Message%3A+Vote%2C+Please

The NEW YORK TIMES

Julian Schenck

Voting is one of the most important themes that has been seen in sports this year, most notably in the NBA and NFL. The huge non-partisan movement has impacted millions of people, reshaping the way that they think about voting. Members of both professional leagues express the sentiment that voting is a major way to express your voice, as well as a measure to ensure that all citizens, regardless of race or gender, have the right to vote.

NBA players including Lebron James, Kemba Walker, and Chris Paul have expressed the lack of encouragement for voting that has existed in the past. Lebron claims that kids who grow up in the inner city don’t think that their vote counts, so they don’t bother going. Similarly, Kemba Walker says “Where I’m from, nobody talks about voting.” This topic seems to be apparent throughout communities across the nation, specifically less privileged areas. President of the NBA players association, Chris Paul, attributes the general lack of enthusiasm to the fact that people who are not part of the Democratic or Republican majorities feel that because of the electoral college, their vote won’t cause a swing of a state’s electoral votes.

The NFL has put up a similar fight to encourage eligible voters to utilize their right. A statement made collectively by the NFL and the NFL Players Association says that they “Encourage the civic engagement of (their) fans, players, and legends.” This “civic engagement” that the NFL mentions includes voting. The league is making a considerable effort to advertise their voting campaign. NFL.com features videos made by players and coaches instructing how to register to vote, as well as emphasizing the impact that your vote has. Just like the NBA, the NFL has addressed the massive lack of voting that has occurred in the past. According to the NFL, 60% of eligible voters casted a vote in the last presidential election. They mock this statement, as Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says that “he’s only coaching to win 60% of the games”, and players Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin joke that they “will only show up to 60% of the practices.” With this satirical way of addressing this statistic, they then encourage eligible voters to cast their ballots, saying that “60% isn’t going to get it done.”

Overall, both the NBA and the NFL have remained prominent supporters of citizens using their power to vote this year. This movement surely has impacted eligible voters to express their constitutional right to vote, and will contribute to the ability to see a true reflection of how Americans feel about who should be the president next year.