By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com

The United States is in turmoil! Along with the COVID-19 pandemic infesting the country, the spikes in unemployment rates many are suffering through, and the multitude of families facing eviction, Americans have a presidential election a few short months away adding to the uncertainty and anxiety of the path forward. These are critical times for Americans!

Because of these awkward times, it’s even more critical that every one of us gets out and votes in this year’s coming election. There have been some challenges broached by some and as Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach so passionately stated, “Voter suppression has been happening my entire life; and it’s been done by the same people to the same people.”

With all of the unknowns our country is facing, it’s critical every one of us gets out and vote in this 2020 election. As our leaders and journalists have broached topics regarding our supposed democracy and our actual voting process, one easily understands the perspective of the Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach, Glen “Doc” Rivers. Doc stated recently “voter suppression has been happening my entire life; and it’s been done by the same people to the same people.” Amid everything else Americans are dealing with, there is a threat to revitalizing voter suppression tactics voting of America’s past.

To combat concerns with voter suppression, 4-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), 3-time NBA Championship winner, and current Los Angeles Laker, LeBron James, has founded the non-profit organization, “More Than a Vote”. More Than a Vote is in lockstep with James’ mantra, “More Than An Athlete.” Through More Than a Vote James is exposing tactics employed to suppress votes, while simultaneously campaigning for Black people to register and vote in the upcoming election.

“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.” LeBron proudly boasts of his inspiration by stating… “I’m inspired by the likes of Muhammad Ali, I’m inspired by the Bill Russell’s and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s, the Oscar Robertson’s—those guys who stood when the times were even way worse than they are today.”

LeBron has already enlisted comedian Kevin Hart, Los Angeles Dodger David Price, Golden State Warrior Draymond Green, Miami Heat legend Udonis Haslem, as well as New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara. In addition to receiving the signatures from WNBA players Skylar Diggins-Smith, Kristi Toliver, A’ja Wilson, Brittney Griner, Renee Montgomery, Chiney Ogwumike as well as current and former NFL players Jeff Okudah, Emmanuel Acho, Michael Vick, Bobby Wagner, Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins, and Odell Beckham Jr.. He has also gained signatures from current and former NBA players Eric Bledsoe, Mo Bamba, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, CJ McCollum, Trae Young and Ray Allen, Caron Butler, Kendrick Perkins. Several other athletes and entertainers have joined the cause such Jozy Altidore, Tim Anderson, Toni Braxton, Bun B, , Carlton Davis, Jeremy Ebobisse, Andrew Hawkins, Jason Heyward, Justin Morrow, Arike Ogunbowale, Dare Ogunbowale, CC Sabathia, Ben Simmons, Sloane Stephens, Marcus Stroman, along with NBA Analysts Jalen Rose,  and Maria Taylor.

Just recently, The Dodger Stadium agreed in a joint effort between the Dodgers and More Than A Vote, to becoming a voting site for many American citizens in the Los Angeles market. “I may still be new to LA, but it didn’t take long for me to learn how special the relationship is between the Dodgers and Lakers. We are all in this together,” LeBron James explained. “I’m proud we were able to help the Dodgers become the first MLB stadium to open for voting. This is exactly why we created More Than a Vote. A lot of us are now working together and here for every team who wants to follow the Dodgers lead and turn their stadium into a safer place for voting.”

“Winning takes collaboration, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing between Los Angeles County and professional sports here in LA,” said Dodger Pitcher David Price, who is also a member of the More Than A Vote campaign. “We may not be able to play in front of our fans this year, but we can do our part to provide a core civic function and make sure that Angelenos can safely vote this fall. By becoming the first Major League Baseball team to convert our stadium into a voting center, the Dodgers are handing a blueprint to teams across MLB that can be used to make a very real difference in the lives of their fans.”

Having been closed to the public for much of 2020 Dodger Stadium and the surrounding property have hosted many civic and communal initiatives. Most notably being the county’s largest Covid-19 testing site, Los Angeles Unified School District’s virtual graduation in addition to being used as a staging ground for emergency equipment and a food distribution site for those families who’ve experienced food insecurities.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Los Angeles Dodgers. We are thankful for their commitment to civic engagement and voter enfranchisement,” Dean C. Logan, L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk mentioned. “Hosting a vote center at Dodger Stadium is a grand slam that allows us to meet public health standards for physical distancing while ensuring voters have access to in-person voting options in the presidential election. In uncertain times, it is collaborations such as this that demonstrate the spirit of community and the strength of our democracy. We encourage voters to head out to the ballpark to make their voices heard this Fall.”

“The Los Angeles Dodgers hosting a vote center at Dodger Stadium is a home run for democracy,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Civic partnerships that help us offer new and safer voting options is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope this partnership, which is the first by a Major League Baseball team, inspires others to join us as we work to educate the public on changes to the November general election and to identify new voting locations and poll workers.“

In a recent communication further explaining the purpose of the More Than a Vote Campaign, James urges the communities to participate in the election this year, “We saw you in the streets. We saw your social media posts. Your voices are breaking through, but it’s now time to do more. We know you have the ability to organize. So, join us and take your protest to the election and fight to keep our community from being silenced.”

It’s been said in the past that athletes, specifically LeBron should shut up and dribble. This is yet another example of how that statement is an unintelligent response to an athlete using his platform to do positive things in the community he lives and works in. What are your thoughts on this initiative and its potential impact on the upcoming election? By reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward your thoughts to info@whatsgoodinsports.com.