Coco Gauff and other star tennis players have stepped up and used their platforms for good. Here’s why the world needs them during times like these.
As the United States shifts from a global pandemic to a civil crisis, athletes and celebrities have taken their stands on the disturbing situation regarding George Floyd and his death. Tennis has historically been an “elitist sport” and was segregated until the 1950s. The sport has been described as one where athletes avoid speaking out of social issues.
Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, and Martina Navratilova have all fought for equal rights for all people in tennis, with much success. Venus and Serena Williams have fought tooth and nail for the same causes.
Athletes have an incredibly large platform to spread awareness on important topics. Teenage WTA star Coco Gauff has joined the fold as one of the leading advocates for Floyd’s protesters. Gauff posted a powerful video on TikTok, arguably her most well-known platform. It’s a video made even more powerful with her silence.
It’s a far cry from the usually cheerful and upbeat Gauff dancing to various music or posting uplifting content amidst the coronavirus pandemic. In the video, the Florida native wears a black hoodie and has music playing in the background. She has pictures of the countless African-American lives that were taken as a result of law enforcement.
The most powerful moment is Gauff’s lack of speaking. She turns to the camera at one point in the video and, with a title card “Am I next?”. The video ends simply with the card, “I am using my voice. Will you use yours?”. It’s a truly powerful moment and puts her at the forefront of tennis players standing for this cause.
“I am in tears watching this video,” she also wrote on Twitter. “Every day, innocent people are dying because of our skin color. No one deserves to die like that. I just can’t believe this. This needs to stop.”
The young generation in sports hasn’t shown an ounce of fear standing up for social issues and causes.
“My generation has just decided it was time to speak up on our own about things,” Gauff told The Guardian last year. “I do follow the [climate] movement, and I’m learning about ways we can better change, at least my lifestyle and the way my family lives.”
Fellow superstar Naomi Osaka has also voiced her disdain regarding the situation.
It’s simply incredible what Gauff and the others do in these situations. They have the risk of losing a large number of supporters and fans due to their stances on particular world events. Nevertheless, they continue to voice their support alongside their fellow countrymen and countrywomen to make it a better place to live.
Anything that can be done will be done by the players. They’ve banded together as one and have stood up for the beliefs they stand for. They stand as a united front and use their platforms for good.
“Rackets down, hands up.”
“Am I next?”
“Just because it is happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening at all.”
“Why do we do this to each other?”
We thank our sport’s stars for using their platforms and their voices to spread awareness on a situation that needs powerful voices at its core. Coco Gauff, Naomi Osaka, Venus and Serena, and the countless others, we thank you.