Obama: More sports stars should speak out on issues

Obama: More sports stars should speak out on issues

President Obama, a sports fan who makes a living dealing with political issues, says more sports stars should speak out on public matters and should be actively participating in discussion of such issues.

In an interview with People magazine, Obama praised basketball star LeBron James and other athletes who protested grand jury refusals to indict police officers involved in the deaths of African-American males and he wants more and more sport stars to come up with their views and thoughts regarding such issues.

"You know, I think LeBron did the right thing," Obama told People, referring to the decision by the Cleveland Cavaliers leader to wear a "I Can't Breathe" T-shirt at a recent game.

Obama noted that there has been a rich of tradition of athletes speaking out on public issues, particularly during the volatile 1960s.
"We forget the role that Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe and Bill Russell played in raising consciousness," the president said. That tradition has dimmed in recent years, he added.

"We went through a long stretch there where (with) well-paid athletes the notion was: just be quiet and get your endorsements and don't make waves," Obama said. "LeBron is an example of a young man who has, in his own way and in a respectful way, tried to say, 'I'm part of this society, too' and focus attention.

"I'd like to see more athletes do that -- not just around this issue, but around a range of issues."

Posted by Mikel Hilton 1/23/15

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