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The Enduring Importance of the Activist Athlete

The events of the last several weeks demonstrate exactly why we need activist athletes. They have the power to then influence the "silent majority" of the American public and reach people who are completely alienated from politics.

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#BlackLivesMatter Takes the Field: A Weekend of Athletes Speaking Out

The marches in the streets are not done. The die-ins disrupting traffic are not done. Any kind of closure for the families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley and so many others is far from done. So why should anyone be surprised that the St. Louis Rams were not done?

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From Rams to Ariyana Smith, Athletes Honor Michael Brown

The sports world is alternately inspired and enraged by five members of the NFL's St. Louis Rams. Their grand transgressive action was walking out onto their home field before the start of their Sunday, November 30th game against the Oakland Raiders, and raising their arms in the "hands up don't shoot" pose that has become the international symbol of protests against the police shooting of unarmed Ferguson, Missouri, resident Michael Brown. Debates have raged about whether the playing field is an "appropriate" place for politics or if any of the Rams would in some way be sanctioned by the league.

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St. Louis Rams Players Tell the World That #BlackLivesMatter

Anytime someone says that pro athletes should just “shut up and play,” remind them that at every moment of every game “play” is only a small part of what they are actually doing. Instead, their number-one job is being a product. They are the product, selling the righteousness of their global sports brand. They are the models, selling the Nike swooshes that adorn their uniforms or the Gatorade they pour down their throats. They are selling, with each adrenaline pumping play, the myth that spending a billion dollars on this new stadium was a fine investment. They are also often asked to hawk whatever war is under way, their play a glamorous stand-in for blood on faraway battlefields. When fans and the media say to athletes with opinions, “Shut up and play,” they are really saying, “Shut up and sell.”

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