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By July 10, 2018Culture

Give credit to both Serena Williams and a group of pro football plays for exceeding expectations. They are positive role models for athletes to use their voices to complain, not to refs, but on behalf of individuals who can’t speak out for themselves.

Serena Williams directed her high-profile voice toward an insightful, more inclusive perspective with respect to domestic violence. The problem and its solutions involve more than women, she asserts, educating men and boys must be a critical focus as well.

“I think expanding the conversation to men and … to young boys, it’s so important,” the tennis superstar said in a recent wire service interview.

Another, more formal stance on social justice came from a group of NFL players in response to President Trump’s transparent attempt to curry favor with the same athletes he’s criticized on the national anthem debate.

Apparently thinking to further capitalize on the publicity he received for using his executive powers to grant clemency to a nonviolent drug offender, Trump invited players to offer names of “people that were unfairly treated, friends of theirs or people that they know about.”

The request backfired as one could imagine. Not simply for his misuse of the English language or even the presumptuous and pandering nature of the request, but because the representatives of the Players Coalition advocacy group — in an opinion piece published in The New York Times — smartly seized the opportunity to address a bigger concern.

“[A] handful of pardons will not address the sort of systemic injustice that N.F.L. players have been protesting,” the players wrote and went on to urge the president to use his position to bring about far-reaching change to benefit the larger population.

Also, give credit to Williams and the NFL players for their choice of a proper forum and audience. By redirecting their “complaining” to social injustices, they may help repair and save lives … and avoid future ridicule and fines for mouthing off on the field of play.


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