When it comes to influencing people, there are very few things as effective as sports. Millions watch the popular games and they want to follow the footsteps of their icons.
That puts a huge responsibility on the leagues and the teams. Here are a few instances of them making good use of the this power by trying to bring about a social change.
1. Premier League deciding to replace players' names on the shirts with 'Black Lives Matter' for the first 12 matches after the restart of the tournament.
A lot happened across the world during the pandemic-induced break for football. Protests broke out across the globe, demanding racial justice and equality. The EPL took the step to honour that.
Premier League players replace the names on their shirts with 'Black Lives Matter' for the league's re-start. pic.twitter.com/w08x3h65Fd— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 17, 2020
2. Cricket Australia organising the 'pink Test' to create awareness about breast cancer and raise money for the cause.
The initiative was undertaken by former great Glenn Mcgrath, whose wife Jane McGrath passed away due to the disease. All the collection made from the match goes towards helping women struggling with breast cancer.
3. NFL backing up players and encouraging them to 'take the knee' during the national anthem, as a sign of solidarity towards African Americans.
In this regard, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was quoted as saying:
We were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.
The practice was started by Colin Kaepernick, who sat during the national anthem in a match in 2016. He did so, to protest against racial brutality.
4. The US Women's Soccer Team wearing their warm-up jerseys inside out to protest against gender inequality by hiding the US Soccer Federation (USSF) logo.
The USSF had earlier said that it makes sense to pay the women less because their jobs are not as 'demanding' as the men's team.
The USWNT has taken the field with their warm up jerseys inside out, hiding the US Soccer crest.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2020
This is in response to the latest legal filings by the US Soccer Federation in the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by 28 US players. (@espnW) pic.twitter.com/BTZgYeeNMD
5. On a separate occasion, the USWNT wore shirts with names of women who inspire them.
This was during the SheBelieves Cup match in 2019 and included names like Malala and Beyonce among others.
Last weekend, the USWNT honored the iconic women who inspired them, from RBG and Audre Lorde to Beyonce and Serena.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 8, 2019
Which women have been an inspiration in your life? #InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/riSMIT8vR6
6. Similarly, the Indian cricket team players wore jerseys with their mothers' names, to honour women.
This happened during a match between Indian and New Zealand in 2016.
7. WNBA players wearing shirts that read #BlackLivesMatter and 'Justice and Accountability' to stand for the rights of the African-American community in 2016.
8. Tel Aviv hosting the biggest LGBTQ+ sports event in the Middle East, which saw participation of 17 countries.