Miami Dolphins Aim to be First Fully Registered to Vote Professional Sports Team
Community involvement is not a new concept for professional sports teams, as many of our favorite athletes volunteer in their teams’ communities by playing with kids, helping rebuild in neighborhoods, etc. The Miami Dolphins, however, have stepped into a new realm of community involvement – civic engagement. The Dolphins have set a team goal to have their entire team roster registered to vote by National Voter Registration Day on September 26. If the Dolphins are successful in registering every player on the team, then they will be the first professional team in American history to do so.
Martin Luther King III, son of famous civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., joined the Miami Dolphins at their mini voter registration drive, and was even noted tracking down players to be sure their forms were filled out properly. King III is already affiliated with the Miami Dolphins through The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). (RISE) is a nonprofit organization founded by the Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross with the mission of “harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress,” and aims to “use sports to promote understanding, respect and equality.”
King III says that he hopes that the Dolphins’ efforts will encourage more people to become civically engaged, because as his father said “a voteless people is a powerless people.”
While the Miami Dolphins will make history by being a fully registered team, it is not the first or only sports team to push for civic engagement amongst their players. Several other professional teams have reportedly encouraged their players to be more educated and to use their vote to make the change they want to see in their home states and communities.
Toronto Raptors’ coach, Dwane Casey, pushes for his players to get their overseas absentee ballots and vote. As the only Canadian team in the NBA, the players can sometimes feel even more disconnected then athletes that are scattered throughout the country away from their hometowns.
The Minnesota Vikings NFL team educates their players, coaches, and staff members biannually on voting practices in Minnesota, and has even partnered with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office to release public service announcements encouraging Minnesotans to vote.
Countless professional athletes independently promote civic engagement through televised advertisements, campaign rallies, etc. The ultimate goal of the Miami Dolphins, as well as other professional teams and athletes, is to encourage their fan base to participate in civic engagement and use their own golden ticket to have a say in their communities, states, and nation.