Sports and Activism and Athletes

Activism in sports is a… touchy subject, to say the least.

You’ve got your diehard “sports and politics are SEPARATE!” folks (who, interestingly enough, don’t speak up when an an athlete supports their views) and the “athletes HAVE to talk about politics” people (who will praise an athlete for agreeing with their stance and shame an athlete for having opposing views).

And then there are the more moderate: people like myself, who think that athletes should speak up and should be given the opportunity to speak their opinions, but that it should not be an expectation of them.

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John Carlos and Tommy Smith at the 1968 Olympics

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Scoring doesn’t make the player

The feature I’m writing is on Julianna Iafallo, a player on the Buckeyes Women’s Ice Hockey team. She’s a forward and wears number 18.

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Ohio State Women’s Ice Hockey

My interest in her was piqued when I saw that she was from Buffalo, New York (a fellow Western NY’er, seeing as I’m from Rochester, NY) and that she’d played on the Buffalo Bison women’s AHL team.

My angle took a lot of time to decide on, to be honest. I realized early on that only wanting to talk to her because she was from Buffalo wasn’t going to be enough if I wanted to have a really impressive feature.

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The Etiquette of Gossip and Sports

I’ve always been, at least in part, against pulling gossip and drama into the world of sports, especially if A. the gossip has nothing to do with the player’s performance in the game, B. is being published without the consent of the player to talk abouft it, or C. it’s all speculative and there to generate ‘clicks’ instead of having any sort of journalistic integrity.

That aside, there’s definitely a place for gossip in sports. The audience demands it, and if a sports site wants views over their competition, they’ll publish the drama or gossip.

But I think that there is a line that needs to be observed.¬†Aaron Rodgers specifically said that he doesn’t think that it’s appropriate to discuss family matters publicly – I think it was pretty rude of the reporter to continue on with the story against his direct wishes.

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NY Times

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