Loomis Chaffee Athletes Respond to Social Justice Messages in Sports

Chloe Chen '22 and Mariapaula Gonzalez '22, Staff Writers

In the months after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis policemen in June, a familiar yet rejuvenated justice movement swept across the nation with emotions at a high. This movement occupied the thoughts of many across the country, including celebrities and pro athletes who demanded for a change.

Leagues like the National Basketball Association have worked alongside their players to vocalize their stances on ongoing events and have issued joint statements on social justice and racial equality. Their protests have inspired other sports leagues to do the same, like the Women’s National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. However, not all professional sports fans have agreed with these methods of declaring support for the Black Lives Matter movement. With the national spotlight on athletes’ actions, certain messages, like athletes kneeling during the anthem, has created much controversy.

Varsity athletes at Loomis Chaffee have taken the time to reflect on the impact of the social justice messages in pro-sports.
Varsity girls basketball player, Carys Baker ’22, praised the advocacy of professional athletes and saw their actions as a positive impact.

“In such a huge environment, like the sports world, where you have everyone’s attention, it’s important to use that to your advantage, making sure the voices of professional black athletes are heard. They have such a big platform with huge audiences, so it has such a positive impact because what people need to realize is that professional black athletes won’t want to perform for audiences when the justice system is so vial against people of color,” Carys said.

Kirsten Lees ’23, varsity girls soccer player, also appreciated the effort of the professional athletes who spoke out against social injustices and racial inequality in the world; however, she was a little discouraged by some of the public’s reaction.

“I think that the [others’] social justice messages overall are intended to have a positive impact and I personally support them. But they’re focusing more on the superficial aspect of it instead of the message [the athletes] are trying to put across. While I do support [the messages] and everyone should take time to really appreciate what [athletes] doing, I know a lot of people aren’t looking at [situations and messages] with that perspective,” Kirsten said.

Alejandro Rincon ’21, varsity cross country runner condemned the people who criticized the peaceful protests in the National Football League.

“I greatly dislike the backlash that the more racist part of America is giving because [social change] is a straight forward topic rooted in facts. I don’t really know how [the protests are] arguable and the fact that they [first] protested Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem, and then now that they’re getting angry at a team for waiting [in silence] after the anthem just shows that [racist fans complaints] weren’t about the anthem in the first place,” Alejandro said.

These messages have also inspired Loomis athletes to contribute more to the social justice movement.
Kamren Watkins-Hunter ’21, varsity boys football player has been more involved in promoting social change.

“[National messages] have motivated me to start speaking out more and start doing more. Anytime [that] there are questions about Black Lives Matter or social justice, I’m always the first one to be on point, always to say something, and always have something to say because now I’m comfortable to speak up on something I know is wrong. [Now], I have no problem saying anything or saying my mind, trying to educate people who still don’t understand the problems that we as a black community are facing with racism and social injustice,” Kamren said.

“I think in the classroom now, teachers and students realize that we need to find a way to educate and learn about the social injustice in the world. Ignoring it is not going to be the way of creating equality for people of color in America. With the incredible amount of diversity on [loomis] teams also, having these tough conversations will only bring us closer together as we continue to fight this battle,” Carys shared.

“The conversations that have been brought up from BLM are a good start, but we can’t stop there,” Alejandro added.