Recent political policies have changed the way our world works and affected millions of lives in one way or another. As private citizens, we have the freedom to speak our minds in public without television cameras streaming our what we say to millions of sports fans around the world. So what are athlete’s to do when trying to handle media and relay their own message?
Being a professional athlete definitely has its perks. The fame, the fortune, and the superhuman athletic ability. It’s a good life until it’s not. As an athlete, your every word and move is captured and released to thousands, if not millions, of fans. And with the new presidential regime raising concern from millions of families and media forcing athletes to take a side, one wrong move and athletes can find themselves on the wrong end of a news story.
Gone are the days when athletes and sports media are forced to “stick to sports.” Athletes are no longer afraid to speak out on political and social issues.
Lebron James, Steph Curry and other NBA stars took time at the ESPY’s to talk about the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and give respect to Zaveion Dobson’s family for his heroic efforts.
Whether it’s a giant stage like the ESPY’s or a simple tweet, athletes have a voice and fans want to hear it. The problem comes from traditional news outlets claiming professional athletes and sports media should focus on what happens on the field instead of off it. However, sports reporters cover what athletes what to talk about. Before and after every game both teams hold media press conferences and when social or political issues cause a global reaction, athletes will want to talk about it. And just because an athlete is seen as a celebrity doesn’t mean their voice isn’t important, it is. In fact, an athlete’s voice is incredibly important.
Athlete’s are now learning to use the nationally televised platform they are given to reach millions of people around the globe in a second. Many athletes used post-practice media interview to talk about President Trump’s travel ban
Unfortunately, mixing politics isn’t always best for business. Under Armour CEO, Kevin Plank issued a statement calling Trump, “Passionate” and “a real asset for the country.” The sports apparel company’s star figure, Steph Curry had his own opinion regarding Trump, stating he agreed with Plank’s statement, “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
Plank’s comments would end hurting his company, once Susquehanna Financial Group downgrading Under Armour’s stock just days after Curry’s criticized his comments. Unfortunately, mixing politics and sport aren’t always good for business. Curry has a low risk of being dropped by Under Armour, but others aren’t so lucky. Athletes without a high market value like Curry’s risk losing tens of thousands in endorsement deals and sponsorship dollars.
So how are athletes supposed to deal with media?
- Be honest in the reasons why you are taking a stand and don’t fake it to fit in, fans are capable of seeing through dishonesty easily.
- Show support for the organizations helping raise awareness or find a solution for your cause. As an athlete, nothing creates a stronger bond with fans than showing compassion for those less fortunate than yourself.
- Also, remember to stick to the side you are supporting. Fans will lose interest in what you have to say if you are indecisive.
- And lastly, don’t be afraid to be the first one to speak up. Issues will never be solved unless the public is made aware of them.
As an athlete and public figure you have the responsibility to use the tools given to you as a means to better our society. One press conference, tweet, facebook live video and knee at a time.