One of the latest instances of Caruso specifically speaking out came on Monday, when he sharply criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for the way the White House had peaceful protesters tear-gassed so that the could walk across the street or a photo opportunity:
No amount of staged PR photos can hide who this man is... ego, zero empathy, & inability to lead.. the perfect storm https://t.co/P1CypF5UZU— Alex Caruso (@ACFresh21) June 2, 2020
One internet troll took exception to that, and told Caruso to “just dribble.” Caruso had an excellent response to that troll, and anyone else who would try to silence him:
Been playing mostly off ball this season, I’m good Wayland https://t.co/lffWjD3CUk— Alex Caruso (@ACFresh21) June 2, 2020
Thinking of that response just seven minutes after the reply was sent is exactly the kind of excellent knack for improvisational timing that’s made Caruso so successful playing off the ball, so it does seem that tendency towards passing on dribbling has been put to good use here.
But jokes aside, Caruso is absolutely in the right to use his platform to give voice to issues that are important to him, just like any of us do. There has long been this idea — perhaps most famously on display when Fox News host and all-around awful person Laura Ingraham told Caruso’s now-Lakers teammate LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” in 2018, leading to him driving to the proverbial basket and dunking on her — that athletes should “stick to sports,” when we don’t ask that of literally any other profession in America.
Think about it: basically wherever you work, no one on your Facebook feed is going to tell you to stick to that if you post something they don’t like. They may disagree with you, but they’re likely not going to use your job to tell you that you shouldn’t be allowed to share your political views. We can all talk about things that aren’t related to our professions. No one tells Laura Ingraham to stick to dog whistling when she talks about sports.
Caruso and other athletes have just as much right to voice their opinions on our politicians and their actions as any of the rest of us. Thankfully he and the rest of the Lakers seem to understand that, and are using them to share their thoughts about things that are important to them. Just like the rest of us, none of them are required to, but in a time when it’s as important as ever for people to be politically engaged, kudos to him and the rest of the team for setting an example.