Athletes Influence On Social Media

Professional athletes use Twitter to address politics

Nathan Stever, Editor In Chief

There’s no secret social media is growing larger everyday. Apps like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok have given many users a platform to speak on. Some creators use these platforms to dance, promote their own company, make funny videos, or speak on hot topics. 

Many professional athletes have started to be more active on social media to use their platform to share their own opinions on certain topics. Oftentimes young kids and teens look up to these athletes and watch and listen to what they have to say. With just under 12,000 professional athletes nationwide, LeBron James has arguably been the most influential athlete on social media. 

After Colin Kapernick began kneeling for the national anthem in 2016, LeBron began to become more active on Twitter. Since then, he has made multiple tweets regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, Donald Trump, police officers, the George Floyd case, and other social justice issues. 

Many other athletes started to follow in his path and use their platform to voice their opinions as well. During the Derek Chovin trial, Nets guard Kyrie Iring went as far as to buy George Floyd’s family a new house. Trailblazer guard Damien Lillard began to use Twitter and Instagram to promote his support for Black Lives Matter. 

After the rise of the 2020 protests and riots, many athletes began to kneel for the national anthem. Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted about what was going on. The tweet read: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” 

This tweet brought much attention to the Saints organization and Drew Brees. Several NFL players as well as LeBron James tweeted back about how wrong Brees was for saying that. The tweet was removed less than a week after Brees posted it. Which brings the question, why can only certain athletes voice their opinion while others get shut down for saying what they think?

When athletes make tweets like this, young kids and teenagers who see these can easily become influenced by them and start making these kinds of posts on their own without information. Most conservative athletes are frowned upon when tweeting about something political which is why a majority of these athletes stay silent. 

There’s no question athletes have a different level of influence than other influencers. There needs to be separation between politics and sports. Athletes are more than welcome to voice their concerns on events, but when they bring politics into sports is when issues erupt.