Kylian Mbappé and His Stance Against the Far Right: Reactions and Consequences

Kylian Mbappé, one of the world’s most prominent footballers, has recently sparked significant controversy by expressing his stance against the far right in France

His remarks have unleashed a wave of reactions in both the political and sports realms, demonstrating the influence a public figure of his stature can wield and the repercussions it may have on his online reputation.

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Kylian Mbappé’s Statements

During a press conference at the Euros, Mbappé urged French citizens to vote against far-right parties, highlighting the dangers he believes these policies pose to social cohesion and democratic values.

Kylian Mbappé's Statements ReputationUP

This positioning has been unusual for an athlete of his calibre, who typically stays out of political discussions.

Kylian Mbappé emphasised the importance of unity and tolerance in a diverse society and how far-right policies could threaten these fundamental values. 

His message was clear: politics and sport are not as separate as some might think, and public figures have a responsibility to uphold the principles they believe in.

Political Context and Situation in France

The recent unexpected call for legislative elections by President Emmanuel Macron for June 30 and July 7 has stirred political turbulence in France.

This decision comes in a European context where the far right has significantly gained ground.

In Italy, Giorgia Meloni‘s party has solidified as the leading political force.

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Austria is also experiencing a similar situation, with the xenophobic Liberal Party (FPÖ) capturing 25% of the votes.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally won with 31% of the votes, far outpacing Macron’s party.

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Fearing that the far right might achieve victory in the National Assembly, a collective that usually remains neutral in political matters has decided to take action: the sports community.

Political Reactions

Kylian Mbappé’s statements quickly drew intense responses from French politicians. 

Voices of support have emerged from the left and the centre. 

Figures like Laurent Jacobelli stated in a Franceinfo radio interview: 

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On the other hand, the far right has levied strong criticisms.

Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National accused Mbappé of overstepping his bounds and using his platform to inappropriately influence the electorate. 

Sébastien Chenu, the party’s vice president, in a France Inter interview, called for “restraint” from the player, noting that those who have the honour of wearing the French team jersey should be more cautious when discussing politics.

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These reactions have significantly impacted Mbappé’s digital reputation, consolidating him as an influential figure in the fight against extremism, while also polarising public opinion. 

His intervention has demonstrated how a sportsman’s statements can significantly influence public and political debate worldwide.

Support from Other Footballers

Kylian Mbappé is not alone in his stance. Players like Ousmane Dembélé and Thierry Henry have shown their support, emphasising the importance of athletes using their voice for social causes. 

Dembélé expressed his concerns about the victory of the far right, stating:

Ousmane Dembélé ReputationUP

Dembélé’s reference to “sounding the alarm” according to catalunya press brings to mind the words of Zinedine Zidane in 2002, when he spoke out against certain political ideologies and urged the citizenry to take action to prevent their rise in French politics.

Thierry Henry, a respected figure both on and off the field, highlighted in a press conference that athletes have a social responsibility and that their influence can be crucial for change. 

Henry reminisced about how, in his time, football players also faced similar challenges and how their voices could resonate beyond the sport.

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Impact on Social Media

Social media platforms have become a battleground following Kylian Mbappé’s statements. 

On platforms like Twitter and Instagram, hashtags related to the footballer and his political stance have dominated trends.

Opinions are divided: many applaud his bravery and the use of his platform to promote social good, while others criticise his foray into politics and the reputational damage this may cause to the far right, suggesting he should focus on his sporting career.

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The virality of these debates has significantly boosted his online presence, generating thousands of comments and shares, which demonstrates the impact of his words on public opinion.

Since Emmanuel Macron’s announcement of the dissolution of the National Assembly, sportspeople, artists, and influencers have used social media to encourage their followers to vote in the legislative elections on June 30 and July 7, 2024.

Figures like Squeezie, with 19 million subscribers on YouTube, have made explicit calls for the youth to vote, warning about the dangers of supporting parties that foster hate and discrimination. 

His open letter has resonated on Instagram, where he states:

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In response to this publication, Jordan Bardella, president of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, replied with another open letter on Instagram stating:

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On June 16, a collective of about 300 French athletes, including athlete Marie-José Pérec and tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, co-signed an article in L’Equipe calling for a vote against the far right.

Repercussions on Kylian Mbappé’s Digital Reputation

Mbappé’s statements have also had a significant impact on his reputation

The polarisation of opinions has led to increased activity on his social profiles, with a mix of fervent support and harsh criticisms.

This phenomenon highlights how public figures can influence public discourse and how their actions off the field can affect their online image. 

While some followers praise his courage, others feel his comments may alienate a part of his fan base.

This dynamic highlights the complexity of Online Reputation Management in the social media era, where each statement can have immediate and extensive repercussions.

Kylian Mbappé: Implications for the Future

Mbappé’s intervention in French politics raises questions about the role of athletes in modern society.

As more public figures use their influence to advocate for social and political causes, we are likely to see a shift in how sports clubs and organisations manage these issues.

Contracts and sponsorships could be affected by players’ political stances, redefining the dynamics between sports and politics.

Sponsoring companies will need to consider how athletes’ political statements might impact their brands and values, which could lead to greater scrutiny and internal debates about supporting vocal public figures.

Conclusion

The case of Kylian Mbappé highlights a significant change in the interaction between sports figures and politics. 

Traditionally, athletes have stayed out of political controversies, but Mbappé has broken this mould with his recent statements. 

By making an explicit call to the youth to mobilise against political extremes, he has demonstrated not only his influence but also the responsibility he feels for using his platform for the benefit of his fellow citizens.

This situation reflects how the digital age has transformed online reputation management, where each statement can reverberate globally, generating both support and criticisms.

The mixed reactions on social media have shown that while many admire his bravery for taking a stand, others criticise his entry into politics, which could affect his relationship with part of his fan base and his sponsors.

The current scenario raises questions about the future relationship between athletes and politics.

Should athletes continue using their visibility to influence social and political issues? How will sports clubs and organisations balance individual expression with commercial interests and traditional neutrality on political topics?

In this changing context, we invite you to share your opinion: Do you think it is appropriate for athletes like Mbappé to participate in political discussions? How do you see the impact of his activism on his career and society? We look forward to your comments and reflections.

Join the conversation and let’s delve deeper into this growing phenomenon together.

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