INGLEWOOD (CBSLA) — As professional athletes boycott playoff games and demonstrate on the field or court, their activism stands on the shoulders of true heavyweights.
Heavyweights like Muhammad Ali, who stopped fighting in the prime of his life because he wanted to protest the Vietnam War.
USC law school professor Jody Armour is a sport fans who honors the sacrifices of activist athletes like Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who demonstrated for racial justice during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics.
“They all paid a heavy price for their activism, much like Colin Kaepernick,” Armour said.
Kaepernick was blacklisted by the NFL after taking a knee during the National Anthem just a few years ago. He didn’t have the support from fellow players that is abundant now.
Today, players from several leagues are united along with corporate sponsors who’ve made Black Lives Matter a part of the American lexicon.
“They’re saying, ‘We’re going to cut through our collective complacency about this problem of racial justice by shutting it down. We’re not going to allow ourselves to be used as just entertainment — just a distraction,'” Armour said. “We’re witnessing a melding of the Black Lives Matter movement and its spirit and that spirit is being channeled by the athletes.”
Armour points out that WNBA players deserve recognition for their Say Her Name campaign, focusing on African women who’ve been killed by police.
“For them to get out in front of this issue as they have shows exceptional not only courage but leadership,” he said.