Clearly 2020 has been a difficult and tumultuous year for everybody across the world, but one of the few positive things has been seeing more sport stars using their platform to force social change.
What we’ve seen this year with so many athletes speaking out feels different to what’s come before in terms of driving change.
Maybe that’s because social media is more prevalent now, coupled with the fact that lots of athletes have been spending time away from their sports due to lockdown and have had free time to reflect.
Either way, it’s great to see people passionate about certain causes, you get to know a different side to their personalities.
I’ve always used my platform to call out things I felt are wrong but at the same time giving credit where it’s deserved. Muhammad Ali was one of my heroes growing up. I loved the way he embraced issues outside of sport and wasn’t afraid to shy away from what he believed in.
Sometimes these contributions can be more important than what an athlete achieves in his or her sport.
In August, Murray said he supported Osaka’s decision not to play in protest at the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin. “Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman,” Osaka said, explaining she wanted to “get a conversation going” about racism
Some athletes have huge platforms and can help bring about awareness to an issue, which is an important first step before any change can happen.
In tennis, we saw Naomi Osaka decide she would not play in her Western and Southern Open semi-final in August.
As an individual athlete you have the opportunity to make that decision not to play yourself. Naomi obviously felt extremely strongly about what had happened.
It has been great to see her and other athletes playing an important role and speaking out.
We’ve also seen that with Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, who I spoke to during the first UK lockdown earlier this year.
Back when everyone was doing quizzes, we took part in a fun challenge where we both set each other questions on our respective sports. We also talked about his campaigning for free school meal vouchers.
Marcus is a really nice guy and it is such a great thing that he was able to use his voice to bring about change.
It’s something he has experienced himself and is very passionate about. They’ve raised millions for families of school children on lower incomes – and that’s amazing.
Although athletes like Marcus and Naomi are getting the praise they deserve, you still see some people replying to their posts on social media telling them to “stick to sport”.
That’s unfair. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion.
Not everyone will agree with what you say, but it shouldn’t stop anyone from having a voice, so long as it isn’t harming or causing pain to anyone else.
“It became clear to me that she wasn’t always treated the same as men in similar jobs, and so I felt I had to speak out about that,” Murray said in 2017 about working with two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo
Personally, I’m all for good debates, I enjoy researching online and educating myself.
I try to research and give thoughtful answers and opinions where I can, although some people might think that is not always the case.
People probably also disagree with me and I’m fine with that, I find it interesting to debate. The guys I work with will probably tell you I’m a bit too argumentative.
If I see something that I don’t agree with, I’m not afraid to say so and explain why. That’s just the way I am, but I try and do it in a way that’s not offensive.
I’ve used my platform to speak out during my career, particularly on gender equality. That is something I will continue to do.
Why have I spoken out? Because I just think it’s fair. There’s not a lot more to it than that. In some ways it’s seen as radical. I feel it’s the complete opposite.
I think it’s a fair thing that everyone gets treated the same, regardless of their skin colour, their gender, whatever. It seems very basic to me.
I experienced sexism in sport when I worked with Amelie Mauresmo and that was when it first came to my attention. Then I noticed it a lot more because maybe I’m looking out for it. Maybe it is not extremely overt, but it is there.
It’s something I would like to see continue to change. Some people think it just needs time, but why should we wait?
A lot of this stuff you could change immediately if the people in decision-making positions wanted to. A lot of people seem reluctant to make change straight away and want to make it a gradual process.
This year has shown that more athletes among the younger generation will not accept that and will not simply ‘stick to sports’, either.
They have the platform to speak out and are using their position to affect social change. That can only be a positive thing for sport and society.
Andy Murray was speaking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko

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