Off the football field: Why some athletes take a stand

Arjun Ram
Story by Arjun Ram and CBC Kids News • 2019-02-01 15:35

Some athletes say it’s important to speak out

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick set off a firestorm in 2016 when he kneeled during the U.S. national anthem.

His motivation was political: it was to protest police violence against black people.

For decades, athletes have been voicing their opinions about various issues, leading some to wonder why they don’t simply concentrate on their sport.

CBC Kids News contributor Arjun Ram spoke to former Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis, who is from Calgary.

In 2013, Bucsis spoke out about being openly gay ahead of the Olympic Games in Russia, a country that has been known to discriminate against homosexuals.

Anastasia Bucsis has been open about being a gay athlete, and has stood up for LGBTQ rights. (CBC Sports)

“I would regret it for the rest of my life if I wasn’t true to myself, and to use my voice to hopefully help other people,” she told Ram during an interview in Toronto.

Ram also spoke with Bruce Kidd, who was a long-distance runner in the 1960s.

In the 1970s, Kidd threatened to boycott the Olympics in Montreal because he thought Canadian athletes deserved to be treated better.

“Canadian athletes weren’t well supported,” he told Ram.

A black and white image of a young athlete running across a finish line.

Bruce Kidd crosses the finish line to win a race in Philadelphia in 1963. (CANADIAN PRESS/AP)

“While there was a few weeks of tension and tremendous anger, it had a good outcome in the end,” said Kidd.

Following Kidd’s actions, the Canadian Olympic Association and the federal government eventually created a funding program for Canadian athletes who are in olympic sports.

Today it’s know as the Athlete Assistance Program.

Kidd thinks athletes should be respected for speaking out about something that’s important to them.

Check out the video above for Arjun Ram’s full report.

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About the Contributor

Arjun Ram
Arjun Ram
CBC Kids News Contributor
Arjun Ram is a Grade 10 French immersion student from Hamilton, Ont., with many diverse interests such as sports, music and math. Arjun has developed an interest in reporting on social and political issues as well as important developments in the area of professional sports. He hopes to one day work as a news anchor for CBC.

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