The Long History Of Athletes Taking Political Stances

About 100 NFL players took a knee or showed some sort of protest during the national anthems Sunday, which has a whole lot of fans talking. They join a long history of athletes taking a political stance.
From the tennis court to taking a swing at changing the court of public opinion, Billy Jean King is best known for her fight for equal pay for women athletes and gender equality in all workplaces.

"To us the dream was if any girl born in this world, if she was good enough that she'd have a place to play, and make a living. And that was our dream. And guess what, now they're living it,” she told USA TODAY.

But even before that American athletes were taking a stand -- like at the 1968 Olympics when Tommie Smith and John Carols held their fists in the black power salute during the medal ceremony playing of the national anthem.

Perhaps the athlete best known for his political views is Muhammad Ali who refused to fight when drafted into the Vietnam War.

"My conscious won't let me go shoot my brother or some darker people or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America," he said.

American wars touched down differently with NFL player Pat Tillman. He left the league to enlist after September 11th. And died in Afghanistan in 2004.

More recently, the Rams showed support for the black lives moment by walking onto the field with their hands up. And after the death of Trayvon Martin, players Lebron James and Dwayne Wade wore his name on their shoes. All hoping to leave their marks on the game and our culture.

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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