This year’s presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was one of the most contentious in American history. With that in mind, it’s not a surprise that several sports figures have spoken out following Trump’s surprising victory.
Perhaps the most impassioned post-election rant came from Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy, who sounded off on the results after he had noticed the team bus was unusually quiet. “I don’t think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic,” Van Gundy said, via the Detroit Free Press. “We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus, and I have problems with thinking this is where we are as a country.”
There has always been an intersection between sports and politics throughout history. But that’s especially the case today, given these polarized times. Many sports stars have become increasingly politically outspoken in recent years and that’s unlikely to change with Trump in the Oval Office. Here are the five athletes who you’re most likely to hear from:
5. LeBron James
In addition to endorsing Clinton in an op-ed, James appeared at a rally with the Democratic nominee last weekend. He’s also taken strong stands against police brutality and gun violence, most notably wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt following the death of Eric Garner in 2014.
James isn’t only the best player in the NBA; he’s maybe the most outspoken political voice in sports today. Unfortunately for him, his words don’t appear to carry a lot of weight with the Ohio electorate. Trump won the Buckeye State by an eight-point margin.
4. Carmelo Anthony
There’s no doubting Anthony’s sincerity as an activist. The New York Knicks star marched in the Freddie Gray protests last year and frequently speaks out against social injustice. At the ESPY Awards last summer, he made a plea alongside James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade for black athletes to be more active in their communities. “The system is broken, the problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new, but the urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high,” he said.
Anthony also posted a call to action on his Instagram this summer, urging African-Americans to demand change regardless of the consequences.
3. The Bennett Brothers
It would be difficult to find a more outspoken pair than Michael and Martellus Bennett. The Bennett brothers are seemingly willing to share their views about everything, including Jay Cutler and Sam Bradord (hint: it isn’t flattering).
But they don’t stop there. Both Michael and Martellus have been socially active throughout their careers. In July, Michael Bennett called for NFL stars to take stronger political stands. “Whether it’s social change, the (Collective Bargaining Agreement), whether it’s changing concussions — the greatest players aren’t involved like LeBron James or Chris Paul (are in the NBA),” he said, via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “Our great players are sitting back taking the dollars, whether it’s Cam Newton, all these guys, they’re just not at the forefront of trying to change what’s going on.”
Though Martellus Bennett also comments on political and social issues, he saves a lot of his ire for the structure of the NFL. In August, he said the NFL should be renamed “N****** for Lease,” because players don’t have guaranteed contracts.
2. Aaron Rodgers
Tom Brady inadvertently put himself in the middle of the election cycle when he called Trump a “good friend” last year. But when it comes to NFL quarterbacks, few are more politically aware than Rodgers. One of Rodgers’ strongest political stands came in 2012, when he signed a recall petition to remove Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker from office.
Last year, Rodgers created a stir when he called out a Packers fan who made an Islamaphobic remark during a moment of silence. “I must admit I was very disappointed with whoever the fan was that made a comment that was very inappropriate during the moment of silence,” he said, via the Huffington Post. “It’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that puts us in the position we are today as a world.”
1. Richard Sherman
The star Seattle Seahawks cornerback spends most of his political capital railing against the NFL, whether it’s mocking the league’s hypocritical media policy or chastising owners for making taxpayers fund stadiums.
But he’ll likely have thoughts on a Trump presidency, too. Last month, he pushed back against Trump’s lewd characterization of “locker room talk” after a video was released of him bragging to former NBC anchor Billy Bush about grabbing women by the pussy. “I think it was a cop-out,” Sherman said, via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “He needed some way to divert the attention from himself. That’s not how most people talk in the locker room, and I think a lot of athletes would say the same. But it allows him to divert the conversation away from him, which was the focus.”