On November 8, 2016, headlines did not focus on the buzzer-winning shot by Memphis Grizzlies, Marc Gasol, against the Denver Nuggets that resulted in a 108-107 victory. People did not talk about Steph Curry setting the NBA record with thirteen 3-pointers in a single game against the New Orleans Pelicans. The media did not discuss the obvious call the referees missed against the Seattle Seahawks that cost the Buffalo Bills a field goal.
Instead, the media focused on the major upset in the U.S. when Manhattan mogul and reality television celebrity, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton and was elected the 45th President of the United States; this following the most bitter and wildly unpredictable campaign’s in the nation’s history.
While sports were not the topic of discussion on November 8th, professional athletes and coaches did not hesitate to take to social media to express their stance on the new president-elect. I created a Storify account to demonstrate the varying opinions about Donald Trump’s victory from individuals renowned in the sports world. In my story, I incorporate a compilation of interviews via SoundCloud, Instagram posts, and Tweets from Twitter made by professional athletes and coaches following the election results.
Reactions about the results vary; many individuals explicitly state their distress and dissatisfaction with news, some show their support in direct and indirect ways, while others make a desperate call for unity. I side with the athletes that expressed the need for a united front; it is essential that we come together during a time when the nation is divided.
Pro-Donald Trump Athletes
Anti-Donald Trump Athletes
Call for Unity
While the pseudo-celebrity status that professional athletes maintain can be persuasive , I do not think anti-Trump or pro-Trump athletes have the power to change the mindset of fans with opposing views. The star-like status of professional athletes is only effective to an extent – one that I do not think permeates the political atmosphere completely. Although they astound and entertain us on a daily basis, they are also regular people that live under the same governmental control as everyone else. At the same time, I think that athletes can use their social platforms to spark political activism, create conversation, and start media coverage regarding the direction of our political future.