One group that has seen the most change since the Civil Rights era are black athletes. Yes, they still face some more subtle forms of racism today, but considering that 70 years ago black athletes weren't even allowed to participate in many of the major pro sports, it's quite a different ball game now. The credit for the progression of African American sports figures can be given to the athlete activist roles that many of their forefathers took on decades earlier. Iconic figures like Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Althea Gibson paved the way for super stars of today.

But with bigger contracts, self-centered personas, and endorsement deals on the line, that political activism among black athletes has faded and morphed since the days of the Civil Rights movement. Instead of Tommie Smith and John Carlos using the world stage to express injustices faced by African Americans, today, most of the political views expressed revolve around more current topics like gay marriage and terrorism. From running for public offices to making controversial statements over Twitter, black athletes have expressed themselves in a variety of ways over the years. So, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we're taking a look back at the The Most Politically Outspoken Athletes of All Time.

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Tags: mlk-day, athlete-activists, muhammad-ali, magic-johnson, jim-brown
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