The Intersection of Sports & Fashion: a Platform for Expression

by Madison Hager

With Super Bowl LII and the Winter Olympics just around the corner, the time to talk about sports is now. While the sports themselves are interesting enough, we are going to shift our view to some of these athletes’ fashion choices and how they are sparking a larger conversation. Athletes are in a unique position in that they have an influential platform to represent a cause or meaning bigger than themselves. With the presence of social media these athletes can bring light to the people they care about, the people who inspire their games. 

Just earlier this month, Texas men’s basketball sophomore guard, Andrew Jones, was diagnosed with leukemia. This devastating news shocked not only the Longhorn community but the world of sports and beyond. The Texas men’s basketball team have added a permanent “AJ1” patch to their jerseys to remember to play for their brother.

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Texas men’s basketball jersey with AJ1 patch | Photo Credits: Getty Images

To show their support many teams have been wearing t-shirts representing Jones during warm-ups. These stadiums are being filled with such compassion and love in light of the overwhelming support for AJ1. Hearts are melting in these moments and even though these teams are playing to compete, the basketball forces are lifting up a player who is in need of love. 

Odell Beckam Jr. is a fashion icon on and off the field. OBJ is notorious for wearing insanely cool cleats and for getting fined doing so. He is, without a doubt, a fashion king, and that semblance is doubled when he dresses for a special cause.

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The stylish OBJ | Photo Credits: @obj on Instagram

Throwing it back to the 2016 season, Odell wore Craig Sager cleats to celebrate the life of one of the most influential sports reporters of our time. Craig Sager passed away from acute myeloid leukemia shortly before Odell’s wearing of the cleats. This fashion icon and star NFL wide receiver positively used his platform to elevate the life of a great man, just by wearing the cleats representative of the fallen sports broadcaster.

Tattoos are the permanent fashion statement. They are something that we forever want to represent on our skin. On that note, individuals have the chance to express their stories through their tattoos. An athlete’s tattoo has the potential to be noticed by millions of people on a single game day. Tattoos reveal from where these players hearts and drive come.

Indianapolis wide receiver Donte Moncrief has his daughter’s name tattooed on the backside of Superman because he wants to be a superhero for his daughter.

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Donte Moncrief’s tattoo for his daughter | Photo Credits: Albert Breer/The MMQB

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott got a tattoo of a cartoon lion his mother always used to draw before she passed away. Dak’s tattoo is an actual sketch by his mom from their last Easter together.

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Dak Prescott’s tattoo in remembrance of his mom | Photo Credits: Peter King/The MMQB

New York Giants punter Brad Wing got a tattoo of a lion to represent his faith at the top of his arm. He will not get any tattoo above the lion firstly because his faith is the most important aspect of his life, and secondly because lions are at the top of the food chain.

The Intersection of Sports & Fashion: a Platform for Expression
Brad Wing’s tattoo representing his faith | Photo Credits: Tim Rohan/The MMQB

In light of Super Bowl LII and the Winter Olympics right around the corner, pay close attention to the different articles of clothing athletes wear as well as what tattoos they choose to reveal. Their fashion statements can have a much deeper meaning than what lies on the surface. Athletes play for a reason and you just might be able to find out “why” their fashion choices. It is at the intersection of fashion, sports and self-expression that a great story can be shared. •


Madison Hager is a sophomore broadcast journalism and corporate communications major from San Antonio, Texas. This is Madison’s first semester writing with Spark’s blog. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring Austin and being outside, attending sporting events, and spotting cute dogs.

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