The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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AD Goff Encourages Athletes to Speak Out

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Photo Courtest/Athletics Communications

Over the past year, heated debates over race and social issues have transpired into mainstream media. An increase in racial conflicts and police brutality have caused many athletes to become politically active in a way not seen in recent memory, and not too many people are happy about it.

Sports has taken us to an important national conversation of what’s going on in the world and how we cannot ignore it. With NBA stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony and many other NFL athletes, including Colin Kaepernick, players have voiced their opinions on what’s going on in our country world and how a change needs to be made.

Athletes have always been political and they should continue to be. Sports is a key aspect of America and these star athletes have a huge platform, especially in a time where social media and technology dominates our news. Many of these star athletes have over a million followers on social media sites, which encourages people to listen to what they have to say.

College student-athletes look to use their platforms to express opinions about social issues as well. They have a lot more on the line, however, with the idea that they are representing their school. Many have to take  into consideration that what they say reflects back to their institutions and athletic program

St. John’s University is one of the most diverse schools in the country, with students from over 100 countries representing the university. St. John’s has diverse athletes as well, with multiple sports teams with athletes from other countries. When conflicts arise in this country that have to do with racial inequality and any other news affecting the athletes, they should be able to voice their concern for what’s happening. College athletes have an opportunity to speak up for those who can’t speak up, just like professional athletes.

In a statement, Anton Goff, St. John’s Director of Athletics, encouraged all of St. John’s athletes to use their voice to discuss what is happening around the world:

At St. John’s, we recognize that freedom of thought, expression, and speech are intellectual pillars of our University community and key parts of our Vincentian mission to serve those in need both locally and around the world. In particular, we encourage our student-athletes to openly discuss their views on social issues after careful consideration of the impact they can have as leaders within the University community and in society as a whole. It is our obligation as an institution of higher learning to promote reflection and informed conversation when supporting causes, both publicly and privately. – Anton Goff, St. John’s University Director of Athletics

Goff wants to make sure all athletes carefully consider the impact they can have as leaders within the University community and in society as a whole. It is St. John’s obligation as an institution of higher learning to promote reflection and informed conversation when supporting causes, both publically and privately. Goff wants to ensure athletes think about the long term effect of what they are saying rather than the immediate effect.

It’s obvious that sports, in general, has an important impact on our society. Regardless, the United States of America should always stand as a country where athletes can express their political, social, and/or religious beliefs for freedom. In today’s society, the instinctive awareness is that everything is political, athletes should continue to explain themselves so directly to their fans.

Editor’s Note: The original story included only a part of Goff’s statement. It has since been corrected to include it in full.

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