Athletes Around the Country Encourage Americans to Vote

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(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Assistant Sports Editor

 

With Election Day upon us, athletes have taken to social media to remind everyone of their duty to vote. Athletes around the country from every sport, background, age and gender have come together to encourage every American to take part in our democratic process. This year marks the most involved that athletes have been during an election cycle in recent memory, and they are committed to making sure all Americans go to the polls.

More Than a Vote, a group of Black athletes containing huge names like LeBron James, Odell Beckham Jr. and Patrick Mahomes, was started to encourage Black Americans to come out in droves and vote on Nov. 3.

“I’m in a position where I can educate people and, through More Than a Vote, educate people on how important this movement is, and how important their civic duty is. Not only to empower themselves, but to give back to their community as well,” James said in an interview with The New York Times.

The issues in this country have hit home for many athletes. Many of them took to the streets in protest after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota — including the Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, the Indiana Pacers’ Malcolm Brogdon and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry.

In August, the Milwaukee Bucks walked out of a playoff game after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This action set off a chain reaction not only throughout the NBA but also in leagues across the country. The NBA stopped play for three days as a result, and one of the requests from the players before returning to the court was simple — they wanted a bigger commitment, from team owners and officials, from the league and from America as a whole. They needed more, and they’ve received it.

At least twenty home arenas for teams around the NBA have committed to using their facility as a polling place or ballot drop off location on Election Day. Former NBA superstar and current owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan — and the Jordan Brand — committed $100 million dollars in donations to fight racism in America over the next ten years. The league committed to creating a social justice coalition for the NBA, with players, coaches and owners involved to figure out ways to be more effective in combating racism in America and creating movements to encourage Americans to vote.

Here at Utah, collegiate teams are also joining in.

“We are one week from Election Day, and this is your reminder to vote! Let your voices be heard,” Utah Football said on Twitter.

“Now more than ever, it’s time for our voices to be heard and time for change to happen,” linebacker Devin Lloyd said. “As one, we’re not as powerful, but as a whole, we can make anything we want happen.”

Now, over 85% of eligible players in the NBA are registered to vote. That number is 90% in the NFL. Every player on Utah’s Men’s Basketball team is registered to vote. These leagues and players hope to lead by example, and with America facing a critical election, they hope that more people will turn up to the polls and let the country hear their voice.

 

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