Andrew Gilman

More Voices and More Opinions are Much Better

More Voices and More Opinions are Much Better

I don’t necessarily agree with Colin Kaepernick, but I know I don’t want him to “Stick to sports.”

I have no clue what kind of politics J.J. Watt aligns himself with or what kind of movies Bryce Harper likes to watch, but I do know I don’t want them to “Stick to sports either.”

And I like the fact Oklahoma football player Jordan Thomas wears black sleeves and leggings under his practice gear in the August heat to keep the SAE situation that happened a few seasons ago, in his thoughts.

With the popularity burst of social media, sports and politics, entertainment and sports and politics and entertainment are as mixed as ever. There is little separation anymore.

In what ended up being maybe the emotionally charged few days of the Donald Trump presidency, where racism, history and politics all joined in a bitter confluence over the weekend and into earlier this week, the message best served to both sides of this current debate and to all races is we should encourage people to not “Stay in their lane,” and certainly not Stick to sports.”

If something is worth saying, we should all be encouraged to speak out, whether it’s an opinion on the president, racism or the NBA salary cap. If racism comes at you in the words of the president or the actions of the police, the worst thing someone could do is not speak up or out. Or in the case of our athletes when they, “Stick to sports.”

But too often, we’re quick to shut down others because the thinking is others aren’t qualified to give their views. It happens all the time in sports.

Hearing opinions from athletes is necessary. What movie stars think is pertinent. What our president and other politicians are saying is crucial, too,  and I’m interested in knowing what they have to offer about all sorts of different things.

Because, honestly, isn’t that the point? We’re at a divide now in politics. There’s no debate. People are on one side, or they’re on the other. No one is undecided. So if that’s the case and if everyone is so entrenched in their beliefs, wouldn’t more discussion, instead of less, be a better vehicle to understanding opposing views.

“Stick to sports” means, “stop saying things I disagree with.” “Stick to sports” means, “I’m not really open to hearing something that bothers me.”

“Stick to sports” is the problem, not the solution.

Writers can offer insight into a game he or she has never played. A player can offer insight to others on what media means to them. Saying a media member wouldn’t understand is as dangerous as a media member saying Kapernick shouldn’t be able to voice his opinion.

Either side shutting down the other leads to problems, not improved communication.

We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to even understand, but we don’t need to “Stick to sports.”

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