It has been weeks to George Floyd’s murder, which provoked millions of souls across the globe against racism.
With anti-racism #GeorgeFloyd protest of masses fluctuating across the globe, athletes like Naomi Osaka (WTA no. 10) and Patrick Mahomes II (American football quarterback) are contributing for a good cause in support of Anti-racism, while critics are advising them to “stick to sports.”
“Everyone has a vote and a say, I think it’s really weird that athletes get told to just stick to sports,” Osaka said while TIME100 Talks. “You would never go up to a barber and say, just stick to cutting hair. It is a weird stigma that gets attached, and I don’t even know where it comes from” said Naomi. We see several athletes and coaches from around the world raging against racism, but are greeted with the same phrase over and over again.
This judgment is like a pool in the desert, telling someone to stick to a specific task when that person has the potential to balance his or her routine and aspirations. Moreover, if he/she wishes to do it, that matters. Athletes are no aliens but merely human and have the same share of say. One’s profession does not determine the right to expression.
Indian society is very well known to have a pre-judgmental stigma about athletes.
“An individual good at sport cannot study well,”
a common remark made by pseudo-judges in society.
The fact goes unseen that before imagining a great career in sports, a beginner plays to enjoy the game, not to get handcuffed by the expectations of the society. A society, which designates expression to an individual based on his or her field. For an observer, it is easy to take in the facade value of this reality, fulminate, and forget. But for athletes who have to face this daily, it is not as simple as to accept, forgive, and forget.
People should know that what goes on the field, the pressure, the anxiousness is only faced by the player, not the audience sitting out and criticizing. Sport to say is already a live example of survival of the fittest. The fittest and the mentally sound player is always at the top. Criticism arises from interaction, here interaction refers to actual interaction, instead of virtual that mostly leads to false interpretations. Critics put you in an anxiety zone, and what differentiates you from average players is how you get out of that zone.
Sports personalities are also part of the society when they initiate and use respective position in favor of just cause they are asked to sit and not talk, why? Sport does not come in the ordinary list of occupations?.
From very long time athletes are countering critics’ statements. Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2004 got criticized for being only decent enjoying family advantage and does not show the real spirit of wanting as other drivers do, but dissenters were shut by his consecutive Dayton 500 win in 2014. Criticism is natural phenomena and is necessary for one to reach on the top, but it is on the player to manipulate and convert it into an achievement.
Indian Tennis star, Sania Mirza, who at the beginning of her professional career criticized for her outfit; short skirts and shorts that are yet not acceptable in Indian society, but without uttering out a word, she slammed achievements on there face that now, no one recalls about the outfit. When Billie Jean King gave remark to the 23 times grand slam winner, Serena Williams to instead stick to tennis more than her activism and “Being celebrity”, Serena threw back vividly while a press conference by saying
“The day I stop fighting for people who look like you and me will be the day I’m in the grave”.
There are plenty of critics and controversies out there, but what matters is how to tackle them. Many personalities are renowned by the public to handle heated arguments, and many find there career trashed by a few wrong moves.
Politics is like a wild beast that spread its jaws to gulp true values of sports. Politics paints sport with black that a tiny white drop is even visible, hence criticism arises. The mixture of sports and Politics is not new. President of the United States of America Donald Trump is very well known for his brassy tweets and exorbitant rallies. Controversies of Trump are a dime of a dozen to almost everyone but, the recent quarrel of him with Professional athletes who kneeled during their national anthem proves this part gave another direction to the subject, also, millions of people around the world are making it complex to the utmost level.
Sports defined as any physical activity comprising of special skills acquired by athletes/players, and when linked with human relations, it simply becomes complex. Sports is more than just “stick to sports”.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.