Sports superstars increasingly refuse to ‘shut up and dribble’

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Simone Biles was criticized for her “me first” approach after she dropped out of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic gymnastics finals over her mental and physical wellbeing. But some Americans tend to erroneously believe that athletes who compete on international stages belong to them, according to Jane Coaston of the New York Times. Photo by Shutterstock.

While some sports fans expressed their dissatisfaction against athletes who openly discuss politics, “The Argument” podcast host Jane Coaston says a long line of sports stars have been pushing back against the idea of “shut up and dribble,” including Olympic track and field sprinter and jumper Jesse Owens, Lakers basketball star Lebron James, and former football quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick.

And more recently with gymnast Simone Biles and tennis player Naomi Osaka dropping out of significant international competitions to prioritize their mental wellness, Coaston believes more athletes are not afraid to put themselves in the crossfire of sports and culture.  

And in the first part of this To The Point episode, Anthony Leiserowitz says denial of climate change is down to mainly Republicans. He directs the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication. 

Leiserowitz tells KCRW that climate change deniers say the notion is a hoax or a plot by the United Nations to “take away American sovereignty.”

But despite wildfires, extreme weather, and rising seas, some of those who believe in climate change say there’s no need for urgent action because the impact is “distant in time and space,” according to Leiserowitz.




Warren Olney


Andrea Brody