Players Tribune provides athletes with the platform to speak out on important issues during Presidential election

Athletes of all sports have been training and putting in the effort for a very important day: Election Day.


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The Players Tribune was started in 2014 by athletes for athletes. It allows athletes to share their unique voice on their terms.

During this election season, professional athletes have not remained silent about issues that are on the minds of everyone in the country. Media platform The Players’ Tribune has become a place for athletes to engage in conversation and publish first-person stories. 

Many have contributed to the section, “Silence is Not an Option,” in which athletes use their platform to share their personal stories and speak out about the social and political issues plaguing our country today.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford puts it plainly: “We can’t just move on from the issue of racial injustice and use sports as a distraction.”

In June, LeBron James and several other Black athletes formed More Than a Vote, aimed at protecting the voting rights of African-Americans and motivating them to cast their ballots this November. The National Football League has their own initiative to encourage voting: NFL Votes, which aims to encourage civic engagement with voter education. At the college level, the NCAA’s Division 1 Council has decided to prohibit games and practices on election day in order to encourage student athletes to get to the polls.

Athletes have also participated in demonstrations. On Aug. 25, the Detroit Lions canceled practice as a response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by Wisconsin police. Instead of practicing football, the team stood next to a sign that read “we won’t be silent” outside their team facility.

Race car driver Bubba Wallace has “Black Lives Matter” written on his car. Philadelphia Eagles players wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts during pregame warmups on Sept. 20. That same game, the players took a knee and raised fists during the national anthem. They were joined by 20 players on the opposing team, the Los Angeles Rams.

The voices of athletes do not go unheard by fans. According to researchers at Wake Forest University, the impact athletes have on political views are significant.

“They’re influencing people to watch them,” associate professor Betina Wilkinson said. “They have the ability to influence people’s views on issues regarding race such as immigration and criminal justice reform.”

When athletes use their celebrity status to become activists, they are able to encourage fans to head out to the polls by heightening their awareness on issues that are important, often reflecting on racial injustice. This activism must be paying off as people flocked to vote early all over the U.S. In Travis County, more early votes were cast in 2020 than total votes in 2016. 

Athletes’ voices will continue to play a major role in politics by encouraging people to actually vote. This type of activism may not only push fans towards the polls, but it will push them to vote for candidates their favorite athletes advocate for.