by Charlie Pentland
In the age of social media, everybody can have a platform. With global issues getting as much attention as ever, it’s increasingly important for people with large followings to promote solutions to these problems. Athletes are great examples of people using their massive amount of influence for the right reasons.
Christian Yelich is an MLB superstar, winning the MVP and Silver Slugger Award in 2018. These are some of the most prestigious awards given to the most valuable player and the best offensive player, respectively. Yelich has one of the largest followings in all of baseball. As tragedy struck with a mass shooting and large wildfire late and 2018, Yelich and fellow southern California natives sprung into action creating the California Strong Foundation. This foundation raises money through donations and an annual celebrity softball game early each year. Celebrities by the dozen attend and play in the game to raise money for charities such as Ventura County Community Foundation and the North Valley Community Foundation.
Yelich and other celebrity participants such as famous actor Adam Sandler posted on social media about the softball game. This raised a lot of awareness for the California Strong Foundation and they raised collectively over $1.5 million dollars!
However, there have been plenty of cases where athletes have not been so wise with their social media accounts. In January of 2016, world-class mixed martial arts star, Conner McGregor, took to Instagram to showcase himself inside a car. He is seen holding what looked to be a fully automatic rifle outside of the window with the caption “put the fight game in the bag and step away from the vehicle.” This is a great example of somebody with an almost infinite amount of exposure promoting ownership of a fully automatic gun. While McGregor was initially pressed with gun charges, they were later dropped.
Athletes are some of the most revered people in modern society and there is no sign of that changing. They are looked up to by children worldwide and watched by millions every single day. In many ways, it’s comforting to look at the leaders of our society and know they are using their platform for good. But in many cases, it is unfortunate when athletes such as Connor McGregor use their influence to promote more adult, and sometimes immature, ideas.