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For an athlete, reaching the pinnacle of their sport can potentially become a lifelong endeavor; these athletes give up and risk so much in the name of achieving their dreams. Through their success, they not only influence the popularity of their respective sport, but they also have the ability to influence and inspire vast amounts of people due to their heightened platform. In turn, many athletes take stands and attempt to give back to the people - people who are in positions they once were or worse. Unfortunately, when certain issues are brought to the platform, the reception of the issues and the athlete drastically shift. Many athletes have been fined, suspended, fired, or even blackballed for attempting to take a stand on issues that have purposefully not been allowed to be addressed on these platforms. Many athletes find themselves being held down when they simply wish to rise up from their struggles and voice the true struggles of others on a stage for all to see. I believe that the plight of an athlete- someone who is silenced even when they earned their right to raise their voices- mirrors that same plight that was endured many years ago by postbellum sharecroppers. They too had fought to get where they were, and the prospect of freedom was high. After the war, there weren’t many options for emancipated blacks. Sharecropping not only offered these newly freed slaves a place to live but also a chance to earn a living and better themselves. Unfortunately, most sharecroppers often found themselves caught up in a system designed to keep them oppressed, subservient, and in their place. In my essay, I analyze how both systems operate on this idea, how it manifests in both, and why this is deplorable. The parallels seen throughout the analysis will only bolster the reasoning as to why these two mirror each other and why this is detrimental for the institution of sports.
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Sumlin, Austin A., "“ Of Course You’re More Than An Athlete; Now Throw The Damn Ball!”: How Modern Day Athletes Mirror Postbellum Sharecroppers" (2020). Senior Projects Spring 2020. 191.
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