Shut up and listen, athletes have voices

By Colin Phan - Super Phan

Athletes have a tremendous platform to promote many things, not just designer shoes. 

Lately, many athletes are expressing political and social messages. Well known and barely known athletes alike have been trying to voice their thoughts and concerns, and one of the most prominent athletes jumped into the fray this weekend. 

NBA superstar LeBron James was interviewed during All-Star weekend, and asked about their thoughts concerning the state of the U.S. and its president.

"The climate is hot. The No. 1 job in America, the appointed person is someone who doesn't understand the people. And really don't give a (expletive) about the people," James said in an interview with ESPN reporter Cari Champion. "When I was growing up, there was like three jobs that you looked for inspiration, it was the president of the United States, it was whoever was best in sports, and it was the greatest musician at the time. You never thought you could be them, but you can grab inspiration from them." 

That comment could've certainly been polarizing in the eyes of some people, but this comment elicited a response on the scale of which we've never seen before. Fox News host Laura Ingraham fired back at James with four of the most ignorant words I've ever heard spoken in a sentence. 

"Shut up and dribble."

Ingraham attacked James for his comments on Trump saying, "It's always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball." 

Ingraham's comments were personal and laced with intent to question James' credibility on the subject. 

Why should we care about anything Ingraham says though? Although Ingraham sports a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, what is it that makes her opinion and what she says more intelligible than what James does?

Martin Luther King Jr. started one of the biggest political movements of this past century, and he didn't shut up, nor was he a politician. The idea that Ingraham is trying to attack James for using his platform is ludicrous.

James is merely expressing his displeasure in a president who has done nothing to discourage racism, misogyny, and homophobia among many other things, and is getting his intelligence attacked? But this isn't even what's most egregious. Why is Ingraham only saying this to LeBron?

Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long, who is white, had some choice words for Trump earlier this year. 

"If anybody has an issue with somebody being an ally of somebody fighting for equality in a week like this, against white supremacy. I think that's sad," Long said during a post-game interview. "I don't think the president has done a good enough job of striking that down. I share that sentiment with a lot of people." 

But it's not like Long's comments were met with "shut up and rush the passer." Long's comments weren't discussed to the degree that James' were. 

James has expressed his intent to stand strong, with his Twitter hashtag: #wewillnotshutupanddribble. What James is doing is commendable, and I hope that many others finish James' assist.  

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