with athletes becoming more politically active it raises issues with how organizations approach issues and how they handle their players as well as it affects their public image which in this day and age can make or break how successful someone’s business is as well as saying things that may be more controversial and against the organization’s views also players are feeling like they have a duty to protest for what they believe even if it may not be the right time to do so to and with this becoming more popular amongst athletes it could only be a matter of time before UNE becomes a hotbed for political controversies, which could either be detrimental or extremely beneficial for UNE if handled in certain ways.
Background: so when did athletes in this age really start expressing their political opinions to the nation it became huge during the anthem protest that was started by Colin Kaepernick in 2014 who wanted to raise awareness for police brutality by sitting/ kneeling during the national anthem which was, of course, received with mixed opinions with some calling it unamerican and others supporting the protest none the less these protest opened the flood gates for athletes to start speaking their minds about political topics and demonstrating their viewpoints however there is one thing that most can say for certain these protests began the trend of athletes sharing their opinions on hot political topics however the media has not exactly supported athletes in there sharing of politics as many believe the athletes are uneducated and unfit to talk about topics concerning the political climate of the U.S right now but in doing this the media and leagues have only furthered athletes want to talk about problems that they have experience within their life and bring attention to issues with a louder voice that some can’t ignore as easily as they have in the past making the athletes need to talk more necessary.
Issues and positions
the issues with protest is it causes a division in the sports viewing experience as some agree with what the athletes are saying while others disagree and usually it will be the people who dislike the protest that end up being the loudest people however there will be those that agree with what the players are saying the split is usually pretty even. also, the other issue that comes up should we allow our players to protest or not as well as since we are a college we are a place of freedom of expression of ideas without repression. For the first problem so we the university maintain a position that satisfies players yet does not isolate any group of fans? Well, some people are going to be mad however how do we keep a majority of fans and satisfy players well the first thing we can do is cut a deal with the players that they will no longer protest during games and establish events to protest at as well as setup press events to bring attention to what they are doing this way the school can influence on what the athletes are doing and mitigate damage this will isolate some however most of the fans who get upset just don’t want to see the protest on game day this way we keep majority of fans and we might attract new fans with our progressiveness as well as recruits and students may want to attend school here more thus turning what could have been a bad situation into a positive. Now the second issue that arises as a result of the protest namely how do we allow for the freedom of expression of ideas without repressing anyone or making it feel like the players cannot express their opinions as they do have a right to expression. I feel if the university makes a very clear and neutral position it will look good however maybe behind closed doors we support our players by talking to the coaches and players as well as organizing events that allow them to support there cause by going out into the community and participating in events such as protests and fundraisers.
From the previous NFL protest and how it was handled by the league as well as how the fans reacted I have discovered that in order to resolve the issues on both sides the university needs to take a clear stance on the matter as I have previously stated that I believe this position to be neutral I have looked at some fan statements and come to the realization that fans don’t mind that their athletes speak there mind however they become upset if they have to listen to the protest on game day or while players are representing their team. So, in my opinion, it only seems fair for athletes to talk about there political opinions however I think that athletes need to keep their opinions out of the sports they play so whenever you’re on the job wearing a jersey or doing press conferences for there respective teams and other team events they can’t talk politics however whenever this isn’t the case they have the right to talk politics however do to there status I think they need to be careful of what they say as a lot of their fans are little kids who may not fully understand politics or have any political views so I think athletes should maybe watch how they phrase certain things however other than that I think they should be able to speak their opinions because it sheds new light and shows brings up issues that America might have swept under the rug.
Recommendations: so what I would recommend is that the university of new England, if protest should breakout, we should try and contain the problem however if asked about it we should be neutral or openly support our students however we should try to appease both sides of the argument by making a deal with the players to help them in their cause as long as they don’t do anything to upset the media things that could be construed as upset is saying things that go against the university or continuing to protest the once the deal has been made in which case disciplinary action may be taken like taking away certain privileges. The other way we could do this is we should potentially just outright support our players and ignore fan backlash although this might affect enrollment from certain parts of the U.S however I think that it could potentially be better in the long run as it may bring more diversity to the school as well as make us more well known across the states with this publicity and viewpoint of freedom speak their mind may be a very big attracter to young adults looking at schools