I will admit, maybe the title of this article is a little too abrasive. I can’t go as far as to say that athletes’ opinions don’t matter. Athletes’ opinions do matter–however, no more than the opinions of yours or mine. Guys, we live in the greatest country on the planet. This comes as a shock to no one, I’m sure, but it never hurts to be reminded. When all of us were born, we were granted basic inalienable rights entitling us to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Within that right of liberty, we are granted the right to freedom of speech.
The past few months have provided us with highly polarizing “news” topics in which we all feel obligated to weigh in on with our opinions. Somewhere along the line, however, we have been brainwashed to place more stock into the opinions of those we see on TV, in magazines, and on the internet over the average news-watching American. It’s disgusting, and we have to fix it. Dave Chappelle’s 2004 stand-up “For What It’s Worth” expresses the exact sentiments of this article. He tells a story about watching TV soon after the September 11 attacks, obviously upset with the events that had taken place. The television quickly teleconferenced rapper Ja Rule (some of you are probably too young to even know who this is) to explain his feelings on the attacks. Why? Why the fuck would they even do this? Situation aside, it’s all a pretty funny skit and hilarious stand-up in general, but it illustrates a dramatic truth. Ten years later, we are still placing stock in the opinions of celebrities on social issues and events. Use your brain, people; a celebrity’s opinion on social issues carries no more weight than yours or mine.
If you are trying to make a point on any relevant social issue, using the opinion of Derrick Rose, Charles Barkley, or any other athlete will bring no value to your argument. In my personal opinion, it just makes you look like an idiot. Don’t get me wrong, some athletes make very strong, relevant points. I just have a hard time being convinced that your point is valid, or that you even have a firm grasp on the concept at hand, if the basis of your argument comes from someone notable for catching one-handed touchdowns or sinking slick fade-aways. It’s simple psychology. In terms of marketing, both products and ideas can have a brand ambassador. In terms of propaganda, it’s a simple case of a celebrity testimonial. Stop buying into it, because guess what? Their knowledge on most issues most likely won’t surpass yours.
Earlier this year, Houston big man Dwight Howard tweeted, “FREE PALESTINE!” before quickly deleting and apologizing for the comment. Without thought, Howard shared his opinion on one of the longest holy wars Earth has ever seen to more than five million people. Within his apology, he admitted that he honestly had no clue what the hell he was talking about and that he tweeted his thought based off a photo he saw on Twitter. People STILL bitched and bickered about the tweet for days. Some thought he was the perfect representative for the Palestine movement. Others swore to boycott the Houston Rockets–and even the entire NBA–because of his tweet. Very few came to the conclusion of, “Damn, this guy is a moron. Maybe I shouldn’t value his opinion on the holy land war in the slightest.”
This leads to us: a majority of hardworking, tax paying, non-famous American people. Stop internalizing what these celebrities do or say. Not only should you not use their opinions to form an argument of your own, but being offended by a celebrity opinion (over anyone else’s) is just sensitive and naïve. The biggest problem with the pussification of America is that the sensitive fucks are, in turn, creating a sensitive opposition out of rational thinking humans. Why would I care what Dwight Howard thinks about world politics? Why should I care what five receivers on the St. Louis Rams do with their hands before a football game? Why in God’s name would I care what Charles Barkley thinks about anything other than basketball? I don’t, because I understand that I am, most likely, a lot more educated on these issues. I can read up on current events in my free time while they spend it practicing their craft or doing famous people shit.
“But Token Sport Guys, these guys are our role models and kids look up to them and blah, blah, blah.” Fuck that. Fuck all of that. Our generation grew up on Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Dennis Rodman. Hell, Michael Jordan was–and still is–the hands-down favorite athlete of our generation, and that fucker was one of the most degenerate, gambling alcoholics to be considered “the greatest” in any genre besides writing, acting, and rock and roll. Look at us–we turned out just fine.
Let’s all stop being so sensitive and instead become more sensible. We are all old enough to understand right and wrong, do our own damn research, formulate our own fucking opinion, and then move on. Take advantage of that, because the people whining about how so-and-so offended them by an opinionated comment live in a delusional landscape of America, and they are trying to drag us all into it with them.
We learned in the second grade that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” What ever happened to that? Let’s take it back to the basics and worry about rational things such as the facts, and not so much about the story conjured up to help mascaraed the real issue at hand. And dammit, can we please stop putting the opinion of a two-semester, leisurely student athlete on the golden pedestal?
At the end of the day, this is only my opinion. Do your duty as an American and create your own..