Athletes who have found themselves in the spotlight due to winning performances in big games are choosing to use their newfound fame to call attention to issues they consider important. Even as many sports are seeing interruptions to their regular schedules due to health concerns surrounding the pandemic or protests of crucial social issues, sports stars from the professional and college ranks seem to command the attention of fans more than ever and are taking a leadership role.
CBS Sports reporter Dennis Dodd noted the phenomenon in his article, “How a summer of strife transformed Clemson star Trevor Lawrence into a guiding light for college athletes” and highlighted an active approach.
“What was started by a group of Pac-12 players demanding rights for college athletes quickly grew with the likes of Lawrence on board,” Dodd writes. “When conferences were making up their minds on when to play a season, Lawrence was there with Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields demanding #WeWantToPlay.”
Using hashtags effectively is widely recognized as a way to unify a movement scattered across various social-media platforms.
“Lawrence and teammate Darien Rencher were among four Clemson players who organized a campus protest against police brutality in June,” Dodd continued. “There has been talk ranging from creating a players association to ensuring name, image and likeness rights. As if to kick off this first week of Power Five play, Lawrence on Sunday tweeted a “Statement From CFB Players”. With the hashtag #OURVOICEMATTERS, it listed bullet points regarding social justice, voter registration, community outreach and an intent on game days to raise awareness.”