In the 1968 Olympic, African American track runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos shocked the entire world when they took a stand on human rights and the rights of African Americans. During the National Anthem, both USA runners raised black-gloved fists until the anthem finished. Smith said the salute was a “human rights salute,” but the world knows it as the “Black Power” salute.
Lately, there have been police cases that have caused unrest in the African American community and abroad. On Aug. 9 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death by Darren Wilson, a police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri. Many took the shooting to hard because there are many that claimed Brown was surrendering to Wilson.
Eric Garner died on Jul. 14 in a neighborhood in Staten Island, N.Y. after a police officer choked him, a tactic that was banned by the New York Police Department. Garner was approached by police officers on suspicion of selling single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps, something he has done before. Once Garner expressed he was tired of being harassed by the police, officers made a move on Garner. Officer Danny Pantaleo put his arms around Garner’s neck and began choking him. This tragic scene was recorded and went viral. Garner fell on the ground and started saying “I can’t breathe,” 11 times. Eric was taken to the hospital and died an hour later.
Both of these cases have caused many in the US to protest against injustice of the police. Some of the protest has been peaceful and some have taken a violent approach. Probably one of the most notable acts of protest is that of the professional athletes. Many athletes in the NBA and NFL have decided to take a stand the same way the Smith and Carlos took a stand in 1968.
In November, five St. Louis Rams players came on the field with their hands up showing their concern for the Michael Brown case. The NBA has seen many players like Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant wearing “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts during warm-ups to show support for the Eric Garner.
What these athletes are doing is taking the protests to the next level, but in a good way. Since they are well known, and they standing up for what they think are right on a national stage. Many people are standing behind these athletes. According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said “I respect Derrick Rose and all of our players for voicing their personal views in important sense.”
The act of protest by the athletes has gotten the attendance of many people especially high school students and athletes. Many students believe that the athletes are doing a great thing and they support them all the way.
“I believe they should do that,” a DeMatha football player said. “They are people that are aware of the political & social issues of America. They should express their opinion like everyone else.”
An Elizabeth Seton student believes what the athletes are doing is right and they are making a bigger impact since they are well known.
“I think it’s a good cause that players are supporting because they have a bigger voice and people will listen to them more.”
Some students didn’t agree nor disagree on what the athletes are doing. They understand what the players are trying to, but they don’t have an opinion on it.
“I believe African Americans take this to heart and athletes are showing their humanity. I think they have the right to protest. I nor agree or disagree,” a DeMatha student said.
The act of protest by professional athletes showed support for a great cause, but it also sends a message to others. Their protest shows that people should stand for what they believe in no matter if people agree or disagree with you. They didn’t care what the coaches and commissioner would have thought.
People in the world today especially younger people need to know that you should stand for what you believe in and do what is right.