The November elections are fast approaching, and professional athletes have taken front and center in the effort to help people register to vote and to understand the voting laws and how voter suppression tactics are designed to prevent minorities from being able to fairly cast their ballots.
LeBron James has been leading this effort with his More Than A Vote campaign, as he and other athletes have concentrated their efforts as the nation faces perhaps the most important presidential election of our lifetime amid a global pandemic and an ongoing battle against systemic oppression.
One former player who has recently added his name to the mix is Shaquille O’Neal, who joined Michelle Obama and Jayson Tatum’s When We All Vote initiative and has been leading local efforts in his home communities in Florida and Louisiana. He also marked a major milestone in his own democratic journey, revealing on a recent episode of his podcast, The Big Podcast with Shaq, that he has now cast his first ever vote in a presidential election.
Transcript via CBS News:
“You know I always like being honest on my podcast. I’ve never voted before, America,” O’Neal said. “But, now I’m doing all these voting campaigns, and you know one thing I never like to do is be a hypocrite.”
“In other words, America, I voted for the first time, and it feels good,” he told his co-hosts, who were shocked by the admission.
Shaq said he voted via absentee ballot and explained that the reason he hasn’t voted in the past is at least partly due to unclear understanding of how the Electoral College works. He has now become a vocal advocate for educating the public about the responsibility to vote and where and how to find those opportunities.