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Why Politics Will Always Have a Place in Sports

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Ever since Colin Kaepernick took a seat during the national anthem in 2016, there has been a constant debate about whether or not politics have a place in the sports world. After last night’s game between the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks, that argument can be put to rest.

Politics will always have a place in sports, and the reason that many people have a tough time swallowing that pill is because there’s fundamental misconception about what it all means.

Stephon Clark was father of two, loved video games, had a passion of shoes, and was shot 20 times in his grandmother’s backyard by police officers. The protest of his shooting yesterday was about a human life. To label it has just another moment where politics got in the way of sports is ignorant and disrespectful.

The following photo is of Clark and his family

(Renée C. Byer / Sacramento Bee)

The problem is that the term politics gets misconstrued for just a bunch of old dudes sitting around talking about legislature. At its core, politics is really just about human life. When athletes “make it political,” it’s because they recognize the suffering of human life in their community and want to utilize their platform to enact change.

This isn’t some new phenomenon. Any time an athlete takes kids out on a shopping spree; that’s politics. Any time they show up at the hospital to cheer up an ill fan; that’s politics. The only difference is that these instance are wrapped up in an acceptable way.

Most people are all for any celebrity using their platform to make a positive impact, but the second it turns towards a more uncomfortable subject they clam up. That’s where the idea of politics and sports not mixing comes from. “Politics”, it seems, only applies to that which we don’t want to confront.

After the game last night, Kings veteran Garrett Temple addressed the intersection between sports and politics.

“To those that say politics and sports don’t intertwine, this is a democracy, people have a voice and we’re people at the end of the day,” Temple said. “Obviously today sports and politics intertwined tonight. The protesters did what they wanted to do in terms of bringing light to the situation. A lot of people wouldn’t have known about it if they basically hadn’t delayed and then changed the environment of a basketball game.”

The Kings organization and owner Vivek Ranadive appropriately responded to the protest and reminded everyone that sports can stand for much more than the actual game being played.

“We recognize that it’s not just business as usual, and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community,” Ranadive said. “And we’re going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again.”

The following video is of Ranadive’s comments on the protest

Moments like last night should highlight not times when politics muddied the game but instead what the best part of sports is – community. Every person deserves the right to feel safe, and every person deserves the right to speak up when they don’t.

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About Jordan Schauberger

Jordan is a Sports Journalism student at American River College. He is a passionate NBA fan and unironically supports the Kings. #SacramentoProud

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