Athletes and celebrities can talk politics

Leo Narrison, Campus Carrier Graphics Editor

Fox News host Laura Ingraham is currently facing backlash over her comments about Cleveland Cavaliers small forward and NBA superstar Lebron James’ recent remarks about President Trump. In a recent video podcast called UNINTERRUPTED, James stated his opinions that the president “doesn’t understand the people—and really don’t give a [expletive] about the people.” Ingraham responded to this comment, among others, by saying that “it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball” and that James should “Shut up and dribble.” 

Ingraham has a history of using the phrase “shut up and…” to explain her disapproval for entertainers commenting on political matters. The talk radio host has even published a New York Times bestselling book called ‘Shut Up and Sing’ which criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks who were vocalizing their disapproval for the president at the time, George W. Bush. 

The focal point of Ingraham’s argument against athletes like James speaking on political matters comes from her belief that these people are not educated enough to make valid observations. In her rant about James that took place this past Thursday, Ingraham said, “this is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA.” Ingraham’s comments are completely misguided in the fact that her ideas are based upon the education level of athletes like James. 

One’s education level does not prohibit an individual from cautiously observing the political environment within the United States at any given time. Every American citizen has the right to hold an opinion on political matters as well as the right to voice that opinion. 

Athletes and entertainers alike are in a unique position to use their celebrity status as a platform to comment on political matters. These people have the captive attention of their audience which consists of large portions of the adult population as well as younger age groups that idolize these personalities. 

The statements made by athletes and entertainers that take place outside of their respective sports or performances hold just as much weight as their actions within their respective field. 

Politically active celebrity figures like James are the most powerful driving force for social change within our country. 

When people like James go out of their way to comment on social or political matters, they are encouraging people, who might normally remove themselves from this topic of discussion, to think about the state of our country and how it will move forward. This active encouragement of thinking is what makes an athlete’s platform more valuable than the platform of a talk-show host. 

The viewers and listeners of a talk-show host listen to that person for affirmation of what they already believe. Viewers of athletes like James follow a sport or person that they are passionate about. When this sport or person comments on a political or social matter, that audience forms a new perspective on what is happening in the world around them. 

We should wholeheartedly welcome athletes and entertainers to voice their opinions on the state of our country’s affairs. Their remarks will be the foundation for the changes that will actually make America great again.

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