SPORTS: Athletes’ influence on and off the field

by Lauren Pak, Lizzy Patrick, Jess Ku–

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High-profile athletes have a huge influence both on and off the field. Like celebrities, they can impact important topics such as politics and current culture issues. Photo credit: dkaz via Foter.com / CC BY

The 2016 election is upon us, and one of this year’s election issues is race relations. Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a stand for the #BlackLivesMatter movement by kneeling for the National Anthem. He was the first to gain attention for his silent protest, but was later joined by teammates, other NFL teams and local high schools.

Kaepernick isn’t the only athlete famous for making a statement of political nature. Olympians, including from this year’s past 2016 Olympics in Rio, have become famous historic icons for their actions.

Athletes and celebrities are figures in the public eye—both on and off the field and screen—and have used their notoriety to influence their audience in a variety of ways.

Celebrities are famous for appearing in political PSAs, and some for doing door-to-door campaigning at universities. Their audience is interested in specific art forms and genres, from comedic television shows or rock music. Unlike celebrities, athletes are able to directly influence unique demographics to their towns or cities and backgrounds. From political statements to awareness campaigns for health, education and more, athletes have a measurable impact on their audience.

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