Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is addressing some of the recent backlash athletes have received for engaging in real-world issues.
Responding to a tweet from The Nation's Dave Zirin with a quote from The Ringer's Mike Lombardi about quarterback Josh Rosen needing to choose between being a humanitarian or football player, Watt noted the ability to use his fame and platform to help others is an important part of being an athlete:
JJ Watt @JJWatt
This is just as dumb as the “shut up and dribble” comment. Right or wrong, athletes are some of the most recognizable people in this country. That is an extremely powerful platform that so many use to do great things in their community. Who wouldn’t want that? #MoreThanAnAthlete https://t.co/wDKcj341n8
Fox News host Laura Ingraham used the term "shut up and dribble" during the Feb. 15 episode of The Ingraham Angle in response to LeBron James criticizing President Donald Trump in an interview with ESPN's Cari Champion.
Lombardi's comment from the March 5 episode of The Ringer's GM Street podcast was that after talking to people in the league that Rosen "might like humanitarian work more than football...nothing wrong with that, but I don't know where his values really lie."
Bill Simmons said Zirin misquoted Lombardi and took the comments out of context:
Watt was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year in 2017 for helping to raise more than $37 million in disaster relief funds from Hurricane Harvey.