Sports for a cause: Athletes who used their stardom for a social cause in 2017https://indianexpress.com/photos/sports-gallery/sports-stars-who-used-their-fame-for-a-social-cause-in-2017-5004183/

Sports for a cause: Athletes who used their stardom for a social cause in 2017

A lot of hardwork goes behind the players who achieve success. But only some star athletes use their popularity for the right cause.

Athletes for a social cause

Probably the biggest form of protest taken up by a group of athletes this year, NFL players participated in take-a-knee protest – an act repeatedly criticised by US President Donald Trump. The year 2017 saw a major trend of players in teams across the US National Football league protesting against racism and police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem. The movement was started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 but caught on this year as protests were seen at almost every NFL game held in the United States, as well as at a match held at Wembley Stadium, in London. (Source: AP)

Athletes for a social cause

Sachin Tendulkar batted for a cause by adopting Donja village in Osmanabad (Maharashtra) under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna. Osmanabad has been reeling under severe drought over the last few years and has also recorded a steep rise in incidents of farmers’ suicide. (Source: PTI)

Athletes for a social cause

Tendulkar has not only spoken about road safety on social media but has taken a further step by cautioning people riding two-wheelers to wear helmets. (Source: Screengrab)

Athletes for a social cause

Tendulkar then ended 2017 with a blast. Not being allowed to speak in the Rajya Sabha, the ‘Master Blaster’ took to Facebook to finish his speech where he emphasised on the importance of sports in India and how women athletes have made the country proud time and again. (Source: Screengrab)

Athletes for a social cause

Gambhir has a big heart. And his acts prove just that. In April this year, Gambhir pledged to bear the educational expenses of the children of 25 CRPF personnel killed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh. A month before the generous act, Gambhir lent financial assistance to 1998 Asian Games gold medallist Dingko Singh, who was suffering from cancer but didn’t have enough money for his treatment. “It is really tragic the way we treat our sportspersons. I mean here is a guy who has won gold at Asian Games, Arjuna Award and is a Padma Shri. I am sure there are ways to look after him. I have done something which I won’t like to publicise here,” Gambhir had said. (Express photo by Jaipal Singh)

Athletes for a social cause

In September, Gambhir announced that he would pay for the education of the daughter of assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of police Abdul Rasheed who was martyred in an attack by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag. (Express Photo by: Renuka Puri)

Athletes for a social cause

Gambhir's foundation also started a free community kitchen in Delhi’s West Patel Nagar area where he was himself seen supervising the operations on the first day of the kitchen’s opening. A picture of him serving food at the community kitchen won millions of hearts.

Athletes for a social cause

Irfan Pathan was shamed for uploading a picture with his wife in which a part of her arms, while trying to hide her face, were visible and because his wife was wearing nail polish! The cricketer hit back at the moral police and said, “Using foul language. Talking each other rudely on basis of religion. It shows nothing but ur [your] own learning which some ppl [people] have gathered in their mind over the years. Stop this nonsense of putting each other down,” wrote Irfan.

Athletes for a social cause

Pathan was attacked for celebrating the Hindu festival ‘Rakhi’. Even after a Bollywood teen actress alleged harassment on a flight, Pathan slammed people for derailing from the topic and discussing her religion instead. “A girl was molested on an airline and the people are busy discussing nationality and religion. It amazes me what our mindset is becoming,” Pathan said on Twitter.

Athletes for a social cause

Kaif, on the other hand, committed an even bigger ‘crime’. He posted a picture of himself with his son enjoying a game of chess. Moral police on social media responded by telling him that chess is haram in Islam. With time, stars develop patience and figure out how to deal with nonsense thrown at them. Kaif too kept his calm and asked if breathing was also haram.

Athletes for a social cause

Tagged as the most charitable athlete, Cristiano Ronaldo donated his replica Ballon d’Or trophy of 2013 to a charity event in London this October. The silverware fetched him a whopping £600,000. (Source: Reuters)

Athletes for a social cause

Wayne Rooney became the latest in the list of footballers to have made a generous donation. He donated £750,000 to children’s charities just a few days before Christmas. (Source: Reuters)

In March, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi funded the construction of 20 classrooms in war-torn Syria. The donation has allowed more than 1,600 children to continue to be educated in ‘adequately furnished classrooms’, according to Marca. He wrote in a social media post in March: “A war day is too much. The children of Syria have been subjected to violence and cruelty for SIX years in a conflict that holds them hostage.” (Source: AP)

Pep Guardiola along with Gerard Pique spoke out in support of Catalonian struggle for independence. Guardiola adopted a silent protest as he was seen wearing a yellow ribbon in few matches in support of the Catalan politicians who were jailed during the fight for independence. (Source: Reuters)

Pique, who even offered to end Spain career over the region’s push for independence from Spain, has been very vocal about the cause and has borne the brunt of it. He was booed by Spain fans during a training session while some even called out names when he arrived at the training ground. (Source: Reuters)