Political Statements in Sports
Recently, there has been a slew of high profile events where political statements about smaller, national issues were made on the sporting stage.
In the US, NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, sat and later kneeled during the singing of the national anthem at the start of games, doing so as an act of silent protest against police brutality and racial inequality. This act was met with harsh criticism from President Donald Trump who called for the owners of the NFL teams to fire the protesting players. Trump's comments spurred a further 200 players join this protest
Closer to home, pop icon and rapper, Macklemore, performed his song 'Same Love', a song supporting of same-sex marriage, at the NRL Grand Final. This act has been denounced by many high profile marriage equality 'No campaigners' such as Tony Abbott, who notably tweeted: "Footy fans shouldn't be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport!"
Given the high profile of both above events, as well as historic nature of politics in sports, this has spurred national discussion over the extent to which political expression should have in sports.
Given the nature of sports to bring people together, historically, there has always been a close relationship between political statements and sports. The most prominent example of this is the Olympics, where there is a long history of sporting events being overtly used for diplomatic means.
A long history also exists for sporting events being used to further divisive issues of national relevance. These events were often marred with much more controversy, and famous examples have concerned protests against conscription & racial discrimination.
Do nationally divisive issues
have a place in sporting events/entertainment?
The Australian, ‘What did you do in the Macklemore War, Dad?’
The Daily Telegraph, ‘Macklemore’s song is fine. The NRL’s arrogance isn’t’
The Daily Telegraph, ‘Macklemore’s song is fine. The NRL’s arrogance isn’t'