As early voting is underway across the country, athletes are stepping up to make sure that people get to the ballot boxes.
The National Football League launched the NFL Votes campaign to help people make their voter “game plan.” Stars like Richard Sherman and George Kittle lent their voices to the initiative.
A number of NFL legends are also helping with voter registration efforts, including Hall of Famer and 2003 Walter Payton Man of the Year Will Shields.
A group of Major League Soccer players created Black Players for Change. The initiative started in July, when players from Orlando City and Inter Miami demonstrated at center field.
They also made a video called “We’re In Stoppage Time: Make A Plan” where they encourage people to make a voting plan.
They’re also partnering with LeBron James’s nonprofit, More Than A Vote. Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse posted about it on Instagram.
LeBron is of course a leading voice in social justice across all professional sports, and his More Than A Vote initiative is just the latest example of his incredible activism.
He’s not only partnering with the MLS, but also Michelle Obama’s initiative, When We All Vote. They’re supporting early voting sites throughout October.
Other NBA players are joining LeBron as well, including Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony. They’re using their social media platforms to encourage people to get to the polls.
They also made sure their fellow NBA players are voting. In 2016, only 22% of NBA players voted. This year, voter registration in the league is at 96%.
WNBA players are leading efforts as well. They joined forces with Rock The Vote for the Hoopers Vote Initiative. Carolyn Swords from the Las Vegas Aces and WNBA legend Lisa Leslie helped explain why voting is so important.
Earlier in October, the Portland Trail Blazers hosted thousands at the Moda Center in a voter drive where fans could come pick up stickers and educational material.
When NBA players boycotted the playoffs in August, they made voting a key part of their agenda. Spurred by owner Michael Jordan, the Charlotte Hornets decided to turn the Spectrum Center into an early-voting site. They also promised to offer transportation options and free parking so that people could get there.
College sports got on board too. Georgia Tech set up early voting at its McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.
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