The League

Dawn Knight

Dawn Knight

The author of Taliaferro: Breaking Barriers and a high school English teacher.

Free Speech Isn't Cliche


I hope Brendon Ayanbadejo is right, that in 100 years people will look back on this time period in history in awe at our close mindedness. But the question isn't whether or not I agree with Ayanbadejo, it's whether athletes should feel obligated to keep their political opinions private.

Being a professional athlete gives one a platform from which to speak out against injustice. I would love for athletes to speak out about human rights issues in Africa, China, India, and other places around the world, because awareness brings about change.

Does that mean that I will always agree with these opinions? No, and that's fine. Kurt Warner spoke out against stem cell research; other athletes have backed various politicians; Tony Dungy is openly Christian. Not all of these athletes have expressed the same opinions as I, but I would defend their decisions to speak freely, anyway.

Our country's foundation is the free exchange of ideas. Just because more people may hear those ideas when they come from athletes, does not mean athletes should be censored. Professional athletes are in a unique position. They are both admired and put under a microscope. To take a stand against such a controversial topic was daring of Ayanbadejo, who was sure to face harsh critics. I would not have blamed him for keeping this opinion to himself. He should not, however, ever feel obligated to do so, and I admire that he didn't.

By Dawn Knight  |  September 25, 2009; 6:03 AM ET  | Category:  Baltimore Ravens , NFL , Race Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Crabtree is Felonious | Next: Hardly Dangerous Speech


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The question may not be about free speech, but more about, free access to a wide audience. I think it is universally accepted that free speech is a perfectly legitimate right, but should a person's status allow access to an open media? An athlete can express views and have them published all over the world. When does the average citizen get the same "right"? In a case like this, one's "free speech" is a greater privilege than anothers.

Posted by: Justlistening | September 25, 2009 10:43 AM

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