We are all the right to speak according to the 1st Amendment "Freedom of Speech" and didn't say who have that right and who doesn't. So if professional athletes have an opinion towards a specific issue or like gay rights, then in my opinion they have the right to speak up. Just because they are athletes doesn't mean they don't have their freedom of speech. How would you feel if you were an athlete and wasn't allow to speak up for any issues? Would you like it?
The athletes should be able to speak out on social issues just like a politician because they can state their opinion just like anybody else could. Freedom of Speech. And they want to take advantage of their public popularity to voice their opinion, theres nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, they owe it to their team to not have the public be angry with them for something totally unrelated to the sport they play.
If newspapers, tv shows, and everyday people in the street have the right to speak out about something, then professional athletes have the ability to. Just because they have a larger audience their messages are reaching, does not mean they should not have the ability to speak about matters they care about.
If a professional athlete has feelings toward gay rights either way they should feel they are able to speak out. But by speaking out they should also accept any criticism they receive based on what they have said just as any other person would. However, just because of who they are they should not be banned from speaking about their opinions, whatever they may be. Everyone is entitled to the right of free speech.
If a professional athlete feels strongly about the issue, they should definitely speak up and speak out. They are members of our communities so they have the right to freedom of speech. Professional athletes are also considered role models by many people, so having them speak openly and honestly about moral issues is very important and respectable.
This is the kind of thing we have enough of already! People should just be known for what they specialize in, not become revered or hated for something they publicly may or may not support! Things like this shift balances and bonds in extremely detrimental ways. This is sports. And although I despite televised sports, I am well aware that people already have many the reason to hate another's team. Don't give anymore fuel.
It's one thing to look up to a professional athlete in admiration of their skills or their dedication. Why anyone would listen to a professional football player's opinion on gay rights is beyond me. I don't know why anyone in the public eye would say anything potentially inflammatory about gay rights, particularly when that person plays football for a U.S. city with one of the highest populations of LGBT residents. All that player proved was that football players might deserve the uninformed, closed-minded stereotype under which they generally live.