Sports Activism: Kaepernick, Rapinoe Are No Ali

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BLOOMINGBURG, NYWhat the hell can I possibly write about today? We’ve heard enough about how the Mets suck so much or how the Yankees are on their march to October baseball. None of you want to hear about my Stanley Cup wound still being fresh. This time of year is truly the sports abyss as we await the MLB All-Star Game and all the pomp and circumstance that goes with these events nowadays. I watch zero of any of the four major sports’ All-Star extravaganzas. There’s enough to talk about otherwise but I can’t stand mixing politics with sports and bringing my own opinions on the like as to make enemies herein.

I’m pro-America. I don’t agree with our government so much lately but I still love and respect this country. The #USWNT just sewed up their fourth straight Soccer World Cup victory yesterday, and despite how much I despised the arrogance that the team showed, I still rooted for them because? Je suis American. I am American. I don’t like when athletes have to express their selfishness on the playing field and instead prefer the Barry Sanders approach. Whenever he crossed the goal line for a touchdow, he acted like he’d been there before. That’s also called class.

If we trace sports history there is one dynamic, yet polarizing figure, who mixed politics and athletics during one of the most tumultuous eras ever in our country. His name was Cassius Clay, before changing it to Muhammad Ali. The Greatest was one of the sports world’s first self-promoters. He had some pretty strong convictions about the Vietnam War to lose his heavyweight championship belt and four years of his boxing prime over being a conscientious objector.

Colin Kaepernick, Nike’s favorite son and spokesperson, has been in the news again with his view on the Betsy Ross flag. Megan Rapinoe, a double minority wielding card-member as a woman and lesbian, has made some waves of her own about pay equality and #POTUS. Neither of these two athletes are to be mistaken for Muhammad Ali. They haven’t nearly sacrificed or accomplished anywhere near what Ali did during his life but it is early for Kaepernick and Rapinoe.

Meet_The_Matts, Cheesy_Bruin, Colin Kaepernick wears Muhammad Ali shirt

 

I lived in a Joe Frazier household. Ali was reviled by my father and older brother. It wasn’t until I became older and understood the scope of all that the former boxer did outside the ring. A humanitarian, religious activist and speaker for Parkinson’s Disease, which he succumbed, Ali was a trailblazer who used his athletic prowess and notoriety to benefit a generation. Maybe I’m wrong or premature in the opinion that I just don’t get the same feeling about Kaepernick and Rapinoe and their efforts to change this world that we live.

Maybe I’ll watch some Wimbledon tennis and this young lady Coco Gauff, who knocked out both of the Williams sisters to get my mind off of the politics of sports but there are media agendas and they’ll be all over this tennis phenom. And there lies the rub. How much of an athlete’s political stance are often media driven like everything else in our modern climate?

Leave your thoughts below and come back tomorrow for Ben Whitney, who may or may not agree with what’s above.

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About the Author ()

A man amongst men. Cheesy Bruin kicked cancer to the curb - twice. The Cheese Man's a big, tough teddy-bear who survived the Bronx despite being an unabashed Boston Bruins fan and Sargent-At-Arms for Angry Ward's Urban Spur Posse. Nuff said. Doctors have taken most of this throat and had to make him a new tongue from thigh-meat (his own) and still he won't shut up about the Bruins, Cowboys, Pirates and Cleveland Cavaliers. And yes, his kids do love him.

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