- Back Sports Page Question Of The Day!!
- Do You Want Athletes Discussing Non Sports Related Political and Social Issues ?
Question Of The Day
Every Week Back Sports Page asks Five Questions to staff and experts. The questions and answers are posted throughout this week on Backsportspage.com.
This week we put the focus around the world of sports!! Check out BSP for this week’s questions We have multiple Back Sports Page Contributors to give their insights to our questions.
Here is Today's Question:
Do You Want Athlete's Discussing Non Sports Related Political and Social Issues ?
Eric Webb (Webb Report, Back Sports Page): I do like seeing athletes get involved discussing political issues with the media and talk about non-sports-related topics. I like seeing it because I feel like athletes have an obligation to use their platform to bring about positive change in the world. They have an obligation because whether they like it or not both kids and adults look up to them. Therefore the things they do/say have a greater impact than they may realize. Needless to say they don’t have to put together a perfect presidential campaign but they should at least have an opinion about the things that go on in this world and hope to change those things that need to be changed.
Ryan Morik (WRPR, Beast of The East Sports): Whether or not an athlete talks about his/her political stances or not does not bother me whatsoever. That is completely their business. They should not be forced to talk about their stances at all. In my opinion, there are more negatives that come out of it than positives.
Matt Berkson (Back Sports Page): I’d like to see “qualified” athletes get involved with political issues. That term, qualified, is certainly subjective and not fully quantifiable, but essentially what I’m talking about is the person, in this case athlete, be informed about what they are speaking on.
Bill Keagle (Under The Hoodies, Back Sports Page): I do, like it or not they're looked up, especially to the community they represent. And since their status will only become more high profile it's important that athletes not only discuss but get involved.
Ashley Mayle (Back Sports Page): I am completely okay with it. The topic gives them depth and makes them human. Plus, it’s the same as if any other celebrity talks politics. I prefer that than listening to Trump any day of the week!
Anthony Zurita (Back Sports Page): I think the athlete has every right to use their platform to discuss social issues, just not on the team's media time. It can be up to the coach to either let their players use the media time after games or practices for non-sports issued or make sure it is kept on topic. If the player wants to take a stance during their free time then more power to them.
Danielle McCartan (Pro Sports Rundown, 60 Minute Overtime): I do NOT wish to see athletes discussing political issues. An athlete taking a political stand is divisive, even among the most loyal of fans and fanbases. For example, how could you root for your quarterback if you know he is vehemently opposed to your political, economic, and social views? To dabble in political discourse would be damning for the sport and the people who follow it.
Conversely, I would like to see athletes dabble in non-sports related topics such as: music, fashion, charity work, etc. Too often, athletes responses to questions are dry and, dare I say it: scripted. It is when they discuss "other, off-script" topics, athletes are more personable and "human". That is always my goal when interviewing athletes, so showcase that side of them.
Scott Thompson(Beast Of the East,WRPR): I do like seeing athletes getting involved in issues that they hold near and dear to their hearts. There is nothing wrong with speaking up and using their celebrity status to bring light to an issue or situation. You see other celebrities standing up for what’s right, so why can’t athletes? Personally, I think it shows that these are not just jocks getting a paycheck to play a sport. They care about their communities, speak their minds and show that they are citizens just like the rest of us. Nothing wrong with speaking your opinion.
Nicole Monique (That’s What She Says Sports): Yes definitely – athletes are people too – they have families and vote and have opinions. If it wasn’t for athletes in the 60’s and 70’s trailblazers who stood up for injustice we wouldn’t see or have the athletes today. Just like with your family and friends – you don’t have to agree with them but you do have to respect their opinion and their right to have one in the first place.
Steve Saunders (Back Sports Page): Yes and no. Athletes have a unique position of influence in our hero-obsessed culture that allows them to reach people otherwise disinterested in political affairs. It seems to me irresponsible to squander that privilege. That said, some athletes, actors, singers, YouTube stars etc take it too far and speak on things about which they know very little. This results in consequences ranging from annoying your fanbase to reviving deadly illnesses once thought to be extinct. Do I want to see social and political issues discussed openly and responsibly? Yes. Do I appreciate when athletes use their place of power to speak on such things in a respectful, responsible manner? Of course. Do I tune in on Sunday to see football players discussing social issues? No I do not
Ted Hicks (Baseball, Beer BBQ): Sure, I think over the years, the fans / media were quick not to ridicule these athletes because they were only focusing on expanding their brand. I believe 2016 saw some of these very same athletes step up and out and speak their minds on some of these controversial issues. (random shootings / whether its black-on-black or trying to decide if law enforcement is policing the communities or community policing!)
It only seemed a short time ago when Michael Jordan said "Republicans wear sneakers too"! If you remember - the response wasn't favorable!
Fast Forward - The #Kaepernick anomaly --- was monumental, but only a lasted a moment ---- and didn't qualify as a movement --- interested on next steps during the off-season.
Katie Hutchinson (Back Sports Page): They are a business. Just as I feel with businesses, it is best to keep your political views to yourself or you could lose customers. However, I also strongly believe in the first amendment so more power to them if they want to back a candidate and speak out on issues that they feel strongly about. Being both vocal and respectful could further them as a role model.
Steve Spanop (Back Sports Page, Off Topic): I love the fact that more athletes are involved in issues not sports related. It’s extremely difficult these days to separate the two with the emergence of social media. Athletes comment daily in recent days with many followers reading ever word. There are plenty of people that get their news from athletes and look to them for stances on political and or non-sports related issues. This topic carries both many pros and many cons. Yes there are many educated involved athletes talking about issues but at the same time there many un-involved not educated in the issue athletes also commenting or taking ill-advised actions. Its up to the rest of us to call those people out and make sure they are educated before misguiding their followers down the wrong path.
Randy Zellea (Back Sports Page, Off Topic): I am ok with athletes speaking their mind and making a statement as long as the right person is making the point. Colin Kapernick was brave to make the gesture during the NFL Pre-Season but in my opinion he was the wrong guy to make it due to past legal problems.
I honestly felt the message the NBA players sent at the ESPYS was more per found due to the character of the athletes involved. That sent more of a message out as the unity was what we needed to see to make the point.
About the Author
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Randy's background in sports communication was established in 2003 while interning with the New Jersey Nets during their second run to the NBA Finals. After the internship, Randy worked with the NBA as an assistant editor as well as working game nights with the Nets. Randy moved on to create a ‘Community and Public Relations’ department for the now-defunct New Jersey Skycats pro basketball team. After stints with local Florida sports stations, Randy started writing with InsideHoops.com to cover the world of the NBA. Randy also started writing for The Green Magazine, a golfing magazine based out of New York City.
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That's What SHE Said Sports is a dream come true. When Nicole was little she wanted to be an actress, win the Heisman Trophy and be a Quarterback in the NFL. Over the years the dream changed (she didn't get the Heisman) but she stayed true to what she loved - writing, radio, TV and sports. When she decided to go back to school to get her MBA she knew it was time for "Sports talk Her way!"
Created in January 2012 and launched in May 2012 - That's What SHE Said Sports gives Nicole the opportunity to do a sports show the way she has always wanted combining sports, pop culture, interviews and feature stories. It has also created a platform for Nicole to highlight those who don't always get the attention they deserve like female athletes or women in sports who are making a difference.
The That's What SHE Said Sports podcast kicked off in January 2013 bringing you what's hot in sports, pop culture and her signature BEASTS and BUSTERS of the week and having fun because at the end of the day she's just a regular sports fans. NICOLE has been on ESPN 3 and featured on CNN's HLN Weekend Express to discuss women and the Super Bowl http://www.hlntv.com/video/2015/01/31/women-football-super-bowl-patriots-seahawks ; she's also had shows on AM 1100 and 920 the Answer in Atlanta.
Nicole can now be heard weekly on various platforms such as her website, Twitter, Facebook along with Back Sports Page, TSPN.ca and SoundCloud. SO what's next? The sky's the limit and "That's What SHE Said!"
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Matt Berkson was raised in Long Island, but don't let that fool you…He's really a nice guy. He has been a passionate sports fan since very young cultivating a natural hometown affinity for the New York Islanders…And a not so rational love of the Seattle Seahawks after seeing them vs the Miami Dolphins in an Orange Bowl playoff game in 1983. Growing up from there he was always involved in sports whether it was playing baseball, basketball, or hockey, or wagering on one of them or more. Matt then attended two major athletic colleges: The University of Miami and The University of Michigan, which added his his roster of favorite teams. Since then Matt has been playing fantasy football for 20+ years with multiple championships including the 2013 season where he won all four of his football leagues worth roughly $8,500 in prize money. Most recently he has engaged in the daily fantasy circuit and provides his overall thoughts and opinions on football and sports via his Twitter handle @AFootballFriend. Currently he resides in New York City and is a part-time therapist if you want to reach out to him for any of your psychological needs.
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Attended Kent State University (Kent Read, Kent Write, Kent State), where I obtained my Bachelor Degree in Organizational Communication. Then on to the University of Denver where I obtained my Masters in Organizational and Professional Communication. During school I worked as a bartender. Now I work for Nestle USA.I live in the CLE, home of the Dog Pound, the CAVS, and the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
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Anthony is a junior at Ramapo College with a concentration in Journalism. An aspiring sports writer and broadcaster, Anthony has written for his school publication in high school and most recently for the Ramapo College News amongst other freelance work.
Eric has been a fan of the NBA since he was a child, and has only become a more objective and wise fan as the years go on.
From playing basketball in his adolescent years to covering it for a blog called Get on the Ball Sports, the sport has always been a major interest in his life.
A resident of South Orange, New Jersey, he is an avid fan of the New York Sports, particularly the Knicks, Nets and Giants.
Eric has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from The Pennsylvania State University and currently works as a reporter for The Giant Insider.