Politics in Sports good or bad and its effects on the game?


Politics is a taboo subject in sports, but when there’s a popular agenda it’s allowed. I’m from Egypt so I can somewhat relate to the African Americans in the USA to some degree. The quarterback Colin Kaepernick had knelt to make a statement but was reprimanded.

When George Floyd was murdered, they returned to kneeling in all mainstream sports. It was media and political agenda that wanted this event to be well known and they wanted to “support” the black cause. What ended up happening though, in my opinion, was that the cause of kneeling had lost all meaning once the media got it’s hand involved and made it a requirement at the beginning of all soccer matches in the English league. Even Ivorian Wilfred Zaha stopped kneeling because he knew that it has lost its original meaning and other African and black players have followed suit, some have been reprimanded for not kneeling. They still kneel, but I think it’s true that it has lost all meaning and cause. 

The lesson I learned and continuously see in this is the hypocrisy of the situation. When it suits the media they allow political messages, but when it doesn’t suit them they are against political protests. I see that this double standard is bias because I come from the middle east and see how western media both talks about and also hides things… but also how the Arab media does the same. It happens in all regions. 

Numerous crimes have been committed in sports such as bribery, rigging of games, and sex scandals. There are programs and laws in place but in most cases there are things we don’t see. The point is is that we can see there are many people that are good at hiding these bad deeds and covering up their criminal activity.

In the real world, if someone has sex with someone else without explicit consent then they would be accused of rape and even brought to court; yet in sports, they only have to submit a resignation if they are caught. I wonder if they even go to trial because, Other than Mason Greenwood who had assaulted his girlfriend, I haven’t heard that anyone had.

If you look at some historical facts, you will see that the Olympics continued even during the holocaust and when nazis were committing their unspeakable crimes. Why were the Olympics not cancelled in 1936? I think this teaches us another lesson on how sports and politics help with a particular agenda. While the Olympics was taking place the nazi were able to show a different view of the truth while committing their crimes. I believe that if human rights were applied during this time the sporting events should have been boycotted! “Germany skillfully promoted the Olympics with colorful posters and magazine spreads. Athletic imagery drew a link between Nazi Germany and ancient Greece, symbolizing the Nazi racial myth that a superior German civilization was the rightful heir of an “Aryan” culture of classical antiquity. This vision of classical antiquity emphasized ideal “Aryan” racial types: heroic, blue-eyed blonds with finely chiseled features.”[1]

The Uygur situation in China is very similar to the Olympics still taking place during the Nazi’s reign. The Olympics in China also should’ve been boycotted due to their crimes against Uyghurs, yet the Olympics, once again, ended up taking place where and when another holocaust is happening. “In early December, the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing China’s “egregious human rights abuses and atrocities” in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. Though American athletes will still compete in the Games, no U.S. government officials will attend the global gathering. Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada also plan to join the diplomatic boycott. As some critics have pointed out, the gesture is largely symbolic, calling attention to the issue without taking punitive action against the Games’ host.” [2]

To see the contrast in hypocrisy in the world of football and all major sports now, (I mainly follow football/soccer and tennis at the least) Russia has been banned, from being represented along with Belarusian and this is due to the invasion on Ukraine. Yet when Russia invaded Georgia back in 2008, they were not reprimanded at all. What’s the difference between the two invasions? Here we see once again how political agendas plays a role in sports, and how when the main stream media wants to show a particular story they will push it even into sports, because millions of adults and children watch sports.

We see Israel, the Zionist oppressing political group, being represented in all major sports. Only when the world cup was in Qatar they dismissed showing their flag in the commercials. When it doesn’t suit them they revoke it. For example: The Palestinian cause. This issue is close to a lot of Arab and Anti-Zionist players, yet if they show any sympathy they’d be fined and banned from playing. Please take a look at the resources below. What this teaches me at the least is hypocrisy. Player like Mesut Özil and Mohammed Aboutrika are two people among many that show us such that this hypocrisy exists, when they demonstrated their belief and opinion they were reprimand on and off the pitch. When there’s a need for media to show something, they’ll happily publicize it yet when there is a need to conceal something they reprimand players who call for basic human rights! Funny thing is the truth always finds a way out.

“Regarding the comments made by Mesut Özil on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement, it read. The content published is Özil’s personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.” [4] and now Arsenal and other teams are involved in politics whether it is promoting LGBT by dedicating a week to that cause and making Captains wear the color symbols of that cause, yet they do not take in consideration if the player is religious and prefers not to show or be part of this, the prime example is the Ivorian Yaya Toure the Manchester captain back in the day had refused to where such armband as it is not a representation of him nor his belief and right away he was revoked the armband and suddenly little by little just like Özil he faded away.

“A letter has been written to him; a top Confederation of African Football (Caf) official told BBC Sport. It gives him a strong warning over the message on his undershirt on Saturday. Aboutrika, who plays for Egyptian side Al Ahly, was protesting against Israel’s 10-day blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory and was subsequently booked by the referee.” [5] Now we see this as a common thing, to have a shirt to call out oppression similarly to the Ukraine flag that we see next to the score board on the matches broadcasted on TV in our homes, but I ask where is the Palestine flag or the Uygur flag?

Mohammed Aboutrika also voiced his opinion about homosexually and how it’s against Islam, and yet the media went in turmoil about his opinion and demanded him to be banned. Yet the media will always state their support and opinion for homosexuality and when someone is opposing such views by voicing it they disapprove. I believe this is another act of politics creeping into sports.

“With human rights groups already critical of staging the World Cup in Qatar, Mohamed Aboutrika, a retired Egyptian soccer star who appears regularly on BeIN, described homosexuality as an affront to the Muslim religion. Aboutrika was reprimanded for his comments by BeIN, a source familiar with the situation said. The network also issued a statement defending its programming.” [6]

Finally Argentia did the same thing when they wanted to whitewash their dirty war in the 1978 when Argentina was under the dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla.

“Holding the tournament will show the world that Argentina is a trustworthy country, capable of carrying out huge projects,” advised Admiral Emilio Massera. “And it will help push back against the criticism that is raining on us from around the world.” [3]

There is a Manchester United Player Mason Greenwood that has been reprimanded for beating his girlfriend this is a huge win in sports and politics or crime because finally they are putting some accountable for domestic violence. “The 20-year-old was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault on Sunday afternoon after police saw a woman reporting claims of physical violence and sexual threats on social media.” [7]

It is important to know the relationship of politics in sports to see how both political crimes and agendas are going. The other reason is because sports has a wide audience demographic and is in almost all homes around the world, so it’s a huge driver that can help shape the lives of children that watch it, get them while thy are young. We must be sure the right political news is sent to our children and the right news is sent to people in general so they can be aware and protect themselves from situations like brainwashing, sexual assault, blackmail and other crimes. This’ll help them know how to approach such situations whether they’re victims or witnesses. That’s why I stated the above examples. For me the teaching is more about hypocrisy and how criminals can end up getting away with their crimes without so much as a slap on the wrist.

These are just a few example that I was able to identify there are probably tons more like this that goes unnoticed and we should be aware and try to do something about it, whether it is to protest the corruption and the hypocrisy or to at least shed some light on it.


[1] Washington, DC, U. H. M. M. (n.d.). THE NAZI OLYMPICS BERLIN 1936. United States holocaust memorial museum. Retrieved February 26, 2023, from https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-nazi-olympics-berlin-1936

[2] Boissoneault, L. (2022, February 2). The Beijing Winter Olympics. Is China Committing Genocide Against the Uyghurs? Retrieved February 26, 2023, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/is-china-committing-genocide-against-the-uyghurs-180979490/.

[3] When Argentina used World Cup soccer to whitewash its dirty warhttps://www.history.com/news/world-cup-soccer-argentina-1978-dirty-war. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2023, from https://www.history.com/news/world-cup-soccer-argentina-1978-dirty-war

[4] Guardian News and Media. (2019, December 13). Arsenal distance themselves from Mesut özil comments on Uighurs’ plight. The Guardian. Retrieved February 26, 2023, from https://www.theguardian.com/football/2019/dec/13/arsenal-distance-themselves-from-mesut-ozil-comments-china-uighur-people

[5] Sannie, I. (2008, January 27). BBC Sport | Football | Africa Cup of Nations | Aboutrika warned for Gaza protest. BBC News. Retrieved February 26, 2023, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/7212336.stm

[6] Haqiqatjou, D. (2021, November 30). We support aboutrika! star athlete reprimanded for comments on LGBT. The Muslim Skeptic. Retrieved February 26, 2023, from https://muslimskeptic.com/2021/11/30/we-support-aboutrika-star-athlete-reprimanded-for-comments-on-lgbt/

[7] Guardian News and Media. (2022, February 1). Man United’s Mason Greenwood further arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and threats to kill. The Guardian. Retrieved February 26, 2023, from https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/feb/01/man-utd-footballer-mason-greenwood-further-arrested-over-sexual-assault


  • Posted March 23, 2023 8:38 am 0Likes
    by Zak

    In terms of the BLM things at the beginning, I totally agree and I think an example you can mention is when Spurs LW Son forgot to kneel in the beginning of the game. In my opinion, I think that if them kneeling actually had some sort of meaning to it and not it being a meaningless gesture, Son would not have forgot to kneel. Just sharing my thoughts.


    • Posted March 23, 2023 12:27 pm 0Likes
      by Islam El-Ghazali

      agreed good point, also many other players have done the same and were fined a fee for not supporting the cause. Sadly once the media and the main stream sports put their hands on a particular cause the cause little by little tends to fade away. To only do something just because it will please the masses does not mean it makes the cause stronger. They should have backbone and actually fight against some of these topics.

      • Posted March 31, 2023 1:02 pm 0Likes
        by Islam El-Ghazali

        Correct you are , but some times sports is used as distraction from undergoing political situation, in the case of the Nazi it was to show that Germany is not as bad as they thought. in the Case of Argentina it was to hide the abuse happening by their dictator. Many countries use Sports events for a particular political agenda.

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