By ripping Donald Trump, David Ortiz opens door for Latino athletes to be more vocal

The telling thing in Jorge L. Ortiz’s piece on David Ortiz in USA Today, in which Big Papi, an American citizen for eight years, repudiated Donald Trump on immigration, was not the slugger’s comments. It was the words of Hanley Ramirez, and what they mean going forward.Everybody wants to be like him, Ramirez said. All the players and other people look at him like an idol.It is because of the position of prominence Ortiz holds that his words carry more weight not nece sarily as far as influencing this year’s election, but for the future.Athletes have always had power to make political statements that reach beyond a typical political audience, but have not always wielded it. While Michael Jordan’s Republicans buy sneakers, too, line might apocryphal, it reflects His Airne s’ staunch refusal to touch hot-button i sues. That had an impact on a generation of athletes, and is fading now.MORE: Athletes who support Donald Trump for presidentLeBron James, now the world’s biggest basketball star, has been a vocal proponent of the Black Lives Matter movement. Colin Kaepernick has been the dominant story of the NFL preseason with his decision not to stand for the national anthem because of institutionalized racism in policing. Megan Rapinoe, who is white, knelt for the anthem with the U.S. women’s soccer team in support of Kaepernick and to keep the conversation going, as she tweeted.Ortiz adding his voice to political conversation, even as someone who does not consider himself to be particularly political, shows that there is room for athletes to weigh in on multiple i sues. It also shows Latino athletes that they can make their voices heard. That can be particularly difficult when English is not your first language, and it Matt Belisle Jersey is worth noting that Ortiz’s interview with USA Today was conducted in Spanish.Among other things, Ortiz said of Trump’s well-publicized comments about Mexican immigrants: “When you speak like that about us, it’s a slap in the face. As Latin people we deserve respect, no matter where you’re from. And especially our Mexican brothers, who come here willing to do all the dirty work.”By speaking as he was most comfortable, Ortiz used his rights as an American citizen and his power as a public figure to make his opinion public. While we are long down the road of this election, and Big Papi is unlikely to change many minds, by going public, he can inspire the legions of athletes who admire him to be unafraid to speak up and speak out for what they feel is right. That is what he really accomplished.