Opinion: Why do we care about celebrity endorsements?

The 2020 presidential race has been stockpiled with crisis and controversy. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have worked effortlessly to try and gain a competitive edge.

With a seemingly endless list of issues at hand, including COVID-19 and racial injustice, the country is currently divided in half. Everyone seems to have something to say regarding each of these major issues at hand.

Although the average person will have their own unique set of political views, not too many people tend to look twice at them. However, when any celebrity or athlete expresses their support for a specific candidate, the entire world seems to switch gears and focus all of its attention on him or her. This catalytic process begs the question — why do we care about these endorsements?

At a rally just days before the Nov. 3 election, President Trump said, “How about Lebron? I felt badly for Lebron… When they don’t respect our flag, when they don’t respect our country, nobody wants to watch.”

Trump was of course referring to NBA superstar, Lebron James. “Lebron James sucks” chants roared across the crowd filled with Trump supporters shortly after these remarks.

For those who do not know, when the NBA returned after the four-month-long hiatus as a result of COVID-19, the television ratings of the games experienced a sharp decrease in viewers. Some credit this decrease in viewers to the NBA’s stance on racial injustice, as many players and coaches used the televised platform to express their views on the matter. Coaches and players alike demanded social reform alongside racial awareness, and were not afraid to show it.

So why do so many of us care that the NBA chose to take this approach to the political matter? It seems irrelevant to the overall purpose of the basketball games, which is, of course, basketball. Neither taking a knee for the National Anthem or having “Black Lives Matter” stitched onto the nameplate of the uniforms affect the outcome of the contest. So why do so many people care? Should they?

The answer to these questions is that simply because they are professional athletes, we as a country should not care. Although from the players’ perspective it is completely within their right to voice their opinions using the platform they have earned, this should not make us any more inclined to care so much about what they believe.

Just because somebody chooses to voice their opinion using their platform does not mean that you should like them as both players and individuals any more or less. But they have the constitutional right of free speech as American citizens.

Shortly after Trump’s unnecessary remarks, Lebron James officially announced his endorsement for Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. This was not incredibly shocking to most as Lebron has previously endorsed Biden when he was vice president under Barack Obama. 

It truly makes no sense why some people choose to let political ideals dictate whether or not they support a particular athlete or celebrity in their line of work. Even if you voted for Trump to be reelected, this should by no means prevent you from rooting for Lebron and his Lakers. On the contrary, being a Biden supporter should not necessarily propel you to root for Lebron James on the court if you are an LA Clippers fan.

The principle of not allowing politics to dictate whether or not you support somebody professionally should be the same the other way around. 

Rappers such as Ice Cube, Lil Pump and Lil Wayne have all come forth to support President Trump in the 2020 election. 

In an October 29 tweet, Lil Wayne wrote, “Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done.”

The rapper’s endorsement of Trump sparked a cry of outrage and disappointment amongst many of his lifelong fans. This negative reaction from fans showcases everything that is bad about social media. Why should who Lil Wayne endorses in the 2020 election affect whether or not you are a fan of his music? It is utterly ridiculous.

Just like everyone else, these rappers have the right to support whomever they please in the election. It is absolutely senseless to allow political ideals interfere with taste in music.

The overall moral of the story here is that if you truly feel the need to either admire or despise a person based solely upon their political ideals, then do so to politicians and political analysts — seeing as how this is their actual job.

With the 2020 election wrapping up, one can only hope that the reputations and careers of these celebrities and others who endorsed a particular candidate are not permanently stained as a consequence to their rightful opinions.

Follow Nick on Twitter @nickmilano12.