Black athletes have advocated for social issues such as racial inequalities and violence against Black people on their platform over history. Some have been persecuted and silenced for expressing opinions that do not agree with the dominant white culture. Some of the strategies athletes use in modern times include strikes, refusing to play, and showing solidarity symbols. Consequently, they leverage their power and privilege to voice support for other Black people who cannot access the same privileges (Black Athletes).
Athletes like Muhammad Ali, Laurie Cunningham, and Serena Williams remain visible as part of the Black pride. More so, individuals who shaped the face of boxing, football, and tennis in times of racial struggles. Their success inspires many Black people, and also people of other races considered the minority. They have changed how the world perceives Black people and brought pride to their race.
These athletes are agents of change not only in their professions but also in broader society. Indeed sports icons can bring about social, political, economic, and racial changes in their society. Laurie Cunningham was the first Black professional footballer to play for England and the first Englishman to play for Real Madrid.
He stood out in a time of pathetic racial relations, and chants and when bananas thrown into the field. His success changed the White’s perception of black players and created a path for other black footballers (Kavanagh, 2019). This change in perception was an achievement since the Whites saw Black people as equally capable of playing football(Black Athletes).
Another icon is Mohammad Ali, an American professional boxer and activist who influenced the organizers of the Civil Rights Movement. He won many titles, and his successful career is an inspiration for many Black individuals who want to engage in boxing. Consequently, He is a symbol of freedom and courage to many (Eig, 2018). He influenced the Civil Rights Movement’s ideological spectrum and appealed to various people and organizations who shared little political agreements with the Black community.
Ali had a noteworthy place within the Civil Rights Movement and was praised among the Black freedom fighters. He embodied strategies, tactics, and perspectives in all his operations that later became part of the wider constituencies. There was a shared sense of urgency between Ali and the civil rights workers who put everything in line. More so including their careers and lives, and risked everything to end the racial inequalities (Black Athletes).
The African Americans’ political sentiments reiterated that Ali required defense when he refused to join the Vietnam War because he fought for their rights. He was a pacifist (Eig, 2018). He was a courageous man who shook the world and inspired other icons to use their positions and opportunities and voice for equality of civil rights.
Serena Williams is a symbol of Black pride, and her success in tennis has made her an admiration of many Black individuals who want to engage in tennis. She is critical in the fight against racial injustices and Black identity. Consequently, She has learned to overcome hurdles since she was young, training with an adult-sized racquet. Moreover, She faced numerous hardships growing up and became a top women’s player globally.
She has faced criticism during her career but managed to prevail. Consequently, She is an inspiration to her fans (Williams & Paisner, 2009). She has experienced shameless and explicit racial stereotypes, scrutinized sexually for her body, described hyperbolically for her physical strength, and termed aggressive and animalistic, but none of the stereotypes get into her. Her success and perseverance have encouraged and opened doors for other Black athletes and fans, young and old.
Black athletes have more privileges and opportunities in society compared to other black people. They remain iconic figures admired by Black people and fans from other races. Their success inspires other Black people to pursue similar opportunities in athletics, changing the perception of the world about the Black race. Indeed, sports icons like Laurie Cunningham, Muhammad Ali, and Serena Williams can be change agents in broader society.