The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

We Want It Both Ways

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People can't have it both ways. I know that a lot of people were highly critical of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods when they were at the relative peaks of their fame because they weren't more publicly politically active. Well, not everybody can be Muhammad Ali or Jackie Robinson. Not everyone is built to take those bullets, so to speak. This is when we hear, "Why can't today's athletes be more a part of our society by weighing in on the real issues?

On the other hand, you'll commonly see criticism of athletes who espouse a political position -- generally because it's not in line with the position held by the critic. This is when we hear, "Sports are escapism. Why drag politics into it?"

Truth is, today's athletes are probably less predisposed to air their political views because so much of what they say is not only immediately available for public consumption, but can then be twisted to meet various ideas and ideals in just about any fashion. When an athlete decides to make his or her position clear on an issue or candidate, he or she should be afforded the same rights as anyone else -- the right to have an opinion, the right to express it, and the right to face varying levels of heat from this side or that, based on whose agenda is being featured.

Coaches and team executives may think that they have a say in every aspect of the lives of their players, but there are human and civil concerns that transcend sports. There always have been and there always will be. Just as athletes should not be condemned for having and holding public opinions, they should be left to keep those opinions private if they so choose.

By Doug Farrar  |  October 15, 2008; 9:29 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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