Human Rights Day: 4 Major Athletes Who Have Turned Towards Activism

Monday 10th December marked 2018’s Human Rights Day and coincidently, Animal Rights Day too.  The @unitednationshuman rights Instagram account posted some great content marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights showcasing the work of many high-profile celebrities working in the NGO community. This inspired us to also look at our own community with regards to fitness & health and acknowledge the deep and powerful work some athletes are making on humanity. So without further ado, let’s begin!

I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom, and equality. 

Muhammad Ali

Mahmoud Abdul Rauf 

Known for being one of the best statistical 3-point shooters of all time, Mahmoud Abdul Rauf is most notoriously known for his protest of the American National Anthem during National Basketball Association (NBA) games. For this rebellious act of anarchy, he was removed from the NBA and rejected by almost any team, all of this during his prime. He lost millions (or the potential of earning such millions) all due to on an act of protest. Rauf soon became a public icon for his controversy and not his skill with the ball. Slowly, his NBA career entered a decline but not at the loss of his faith or passion for standing for what he believes in. Now an advocate for the holistic approach to a healthy and balanced lifestyle, an active Muslim in his community, co-captain for the 3-Headed Monster, and a popular spokesman at public events. 

Serena Williams


Serena Williams has succeeded despite being faced with many obstacles such as being questioned about her place in the sport of tennis, her views on sexism in sport and the expectation that she would retire after childbirth. A symbol of success and a role model for female athletes based on her success and discipline, and not to mention her remarkable open letter to women everywhere. With 23-Grand Slam titles, Serena Williams is almost unmatchable in the history of her sport. 

Muhammad Ali 

We think it goes without saying, Ali probably was “The Greatest” and still remains a motivational symbol in the boxing and sports community. A boxer turned activist, Ali was inspired by Malcolm X to turn towards Islam and seek God on his side. This subsequently resulted in his name change from Cassius Clay to his reformed Muslim name, Muhammad Ali. In sticking to his beliefs and protesting the Vietnam War, Ali was sentenced to 5 years in prison for draft evasion resulting in the loss of the prime years of his career. After the reinstatement of Ali’s boxing license, he still came out ‘stinging like a bee’ with 37KO’s from 56 wins. 

Peter Norman 

Ring a bell? Probably not, mainly because he was not as well known for his stand against injustice. Let’s start with a bit more familiarity, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, 2 icons in the 1968 Olympics who first raised the fists in a revolution of Civil Rights. Well, it might surprise you to know that Peter Norman, the third person in the famous photo (who placed 2nd that day), was the man whose gloves both Smith and Carlos were wearing. His silent and unassuming involvement with the protest that day resulted in his subsequent decline in the Olympic Games’ and Australian community. Australia eventually banned him from any upcoming games, despite being one of Australia’s most talented athletes. Peter Norman sadly passed away not very financially secure and the two men who carried his coffin on his funeral were none other than Tommie Smith and John Carlos. 

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By |2018-12-13T20:02:38+00:00December 10th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments
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