Politics and Sports

These 2 topics go together in a way that is sometimes shocking but not necessarily surprising. Kind of like giving a speech infront of your idol and being nervous but having awesome results. Or eating a peanut butter and fluff (fluffernutter) sandwhich. Both which may not be appealing at first and then is shockingly great. Politics and Sports combined can have a similar effect.

– Tommie Smith and John Carlos –
Smith & Carlos made a political statement that would not soon be forgotten at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Tommie smith won the event & his brother in arms John Carlos took third place. When they received their medals they were asked to take the platform for the National Anthem. When the song began the 2 men did something unexpected. They performed the “Black Power Salute” (to the best of their ability). By the time they left the platform they were being booed off.

Carlos & Smith were protesting the treatment of African Americans as well as other minorities in the United States. Both of the athletes were expelled from the remainder of the games & criticized for their action. The 2 men eventually became players in the NFL & their use of the Olympic platform to express their protest is still a hotly debated issue. Sports Illustrated says that the picture of their protest action is the most reproduced image in all of Olympic history.

– Los Suns –
In April 2010 the state of AZ. passed a new immigration law which targeted rampant illegal immigration across the state lines. The law was based on existing federal immigration statutes & had bipartisan support.

The owner of the Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver, did not like the law. He, like many others, felt it was racially insensitive. In response he used is team to make a political statement. During the playoff game held on Cinco De Mayo 2010 against the Spurs the team elected to wear a jersey with the team name in Spanish, Los Suns, to protest the new immigration law.

Reports confirmed that it was actually a unanimous team decision & the statements given by the Suns owner as well as players there can be little doubt that the choice of jersey was purely a political statement.

– Jimmy Carter –
The Olympic themselves claim to be non political yet the international sporting event has proven to be the perfect venue for individuals & countries to make major social & political statements. Entire countries have been known to boycott the Olympics on several occasions to express their protest of one issue or another. in 1980, 62 countries, led by the United States withdrew from the Moscow summer Olympics in protest of the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan on Christmas in 1979.

In this situation it was not the athletes who made the decision to protest, it was the President of the United States of America who made the call. This decision was one of the least popular of Jimmy Carters presidency but that did not stop him from doing what he felt was right.

The Soviet Union organized there own boycott in response during the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

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