Stephen Curry is using his voice to become a social justice leader.
Editor’s note: The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect and/or represent the views of FanSided as a whole.
Everyone has a voice. Some just seem to resonate a little more and reach a wider audience. Some people have a voice that make people listen a little more closely.
Stephen Currry has one of those voices. His profession and situation give him the platform to reach millions of people. As one of the most popular athletes on the face of the planet, Curry’s words seem to carry a little extra weight to them.
As a society, we treat our athletes horribly. They risk their bodies and well-being for our entertainment. Sure, they get big paychecks, but the emotional and physical wear and tear and long-term implications go beyond a bank account. Even worse, when they speak, many try to silence. There’s the ever-popular “stick to sports” stance.
Athletes are people too. With opinions and lives that, no matter how luxurious, still see and feel the impact of the world around them. They have voices and political ideas. They have the power to start really meaningful conversations.
Unfortunately, so much is at stake for them, that, often, they remain silent. Both the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick and the Broncos’ Brandon Marshall have lost endorsements because of their protest of the national anthem. It’s not hard to see why an athlete would choose to not partake in social movements and debates, even when the correct course of action seems so obvious.
Curry, who lives under a microscope these days, has generally kept his political ideas to himself. On a personal level, it’s no secret that he’s a devout Christian. And he’s shown a willingness to take a stand against racism, dating all the way back to the 2014 playoffs. But he’s really starting to kick it into high-gear.
At the ESPYs, he spoke out against gun violence. He spoke alone, giving heartbreaking stats about gun violence in the country. He presented the Arthur Ashe award to Zaevian Dobson, a courageous 15 year old student-athlete who was shot and killed saving others from gunfire.
Then later, Curry responded to the NBA’s decision to relocate the All-Star game. The league was responding to North Carolina’s discriminatory laws against the LGBTQ community. Curry said that he respected the decision, but he was disappointed.
Colin Kaepernick has been making headlines by sitting or kneeling during the national anthem. In response, Curry said he “applauded” the quarterback. He respected his decision to express his First Amendment rights and added that he hopes the racial issues in the country get resolved.
A few days ago, Curry spoke at an event hosted by Tech Crunch. He was being asked some light questions such as his preference between Lyft and Uber or the Giants and A’s. Then he was asked about the Presidential election. When asked about which candidate he preferred, he answered “Hillary.”
Curry returned to the HB2 law in North Carolina on September 15, telling the Associated Press “I’m all for equal and fair rights and treatment for everybody. Until it gets addressed, until some changes are made, this could be a recurring theme in North Carolina. I don’t want that to happen.”
Then, most recently, Curry tweeted about another tragedy in the country; the killing of Keith Lamont Scott. It was another instance of a peaceful black man dying at the hands of police. Riots took over Charlotte all through the night.
Athletes don’t have to respond to anything. No one should force someone to put their and their family’s well-being on the line. But Curry understands that his voice is loud.
Curry is becoming a leader. The same way that LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul have become leaders. The same way Kaepernick and Marshall have. The same way U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe has. The same way the great Muhammad Ali was.
The MVP said he most likely will stand during the national anthem, but the fact that he’s sticking up for this issues say a lot about his character. Sitting back is the safe bet. It doesn’t hurt your image or your pocket.
Curry has the chance to help make a real difference. Fans and his peers will listen. It’s a snowball effect; the more voices chime in and the collective screams get louder, attracting more supporters. He has the means to join the various equality movements across the country and use his platform to combat hate.
The fight for justice and equality is building it’s own super team and Steph Curry is clearly on board.