Athletes in the NCAA can’t get paid by anything having to do with their athletic career, nor can they take the time away from classes and practices to get a job. Their promises of an athletic career after graduation are often hollow. (An institution in which people work for no pay, while their superiors make large amounts money from said work, has existed in the past. What did they call that, again? Oh yeah, “slavery.”)
Professional athletes are traded and treated like livestock. They can be uprooted and relocated without consent. They are pushed past their physical limits, often sustaining severe injuries and consuming drugs which lead them to irreversible health conditions or even an early grave, rather than to green pastures. Their careers are misleadingly glorified.
Southpaw (2015) (Dope movie. I recommend it.)
Famous actors and musicians, with their highly recognizable faces, are pestered, often harassed, and sometimes even assaulted by paparazzi and fans. Many of them cannot leave their front doors without judgment from the masses. Magazines, websites, and even major news networks discuss their personal lives, whether the discussions are truthful, or not. Videos, pictures, and sound-clips of their most imperfect human moments are bought at top-dollar and distributed to the public. Even when this leads to a psychological break, the torment may still continue, like a car after hitting an insect. Whatever sells, right?
Actors and musicians who do not remain “famous” are often used and forgotten. Billy Redden, the banjo boy from Deliverance (1972), now works at a WalMart in Georgia, where he struggles to get enough hours to make ends meet (Isenberg, Nancy. White Trash. Atlantic Books, 2017) (Dope book. I recommend it.).
But don’t let them use their fame to express their opinions. Stand for the anthem. Shut up and sing, Puss & Boots. Make me laugh, peasants! They get paid to do what they do. Isn’t that enough for them? I watch sports games and awards ceremonies to escape from the real world. Real people talking about real things in the real world shatters the illusion of safety that we Americans have the God-given right to enjoy from the other side of our blue-lit screens!
If someone wants to take any opportunity to speak up to make the world a better place, we should let them. Many of these people are well-traveled and well-informed, and have seen aspects of the world that many people have not. We should do more than just allow them to speak; we should be grateful for their conviction and bravery. Their jobs are heavily dependent on the approval of the public, so if they are saying something controversial, they likely aren’t saying it just to irritate people. If they are risking job opportunities and revenue to speak out on an issue, it is likely an issue that is very important to them, and they speak out because they care deeply. That is a selfless act. So if what they are saying makes sense, maybe we should listen to them.
x Anna Luparell
edit: 9/24/17 9:34 pm: Silencing these entertainers is just another way that we are failing to treat them like people. Reducing them to caricatures is dehumanizing.