This week I was reminded in the most brutal way, basic democratic principles do not apply to all.

They most certainly don't apply to sportspeople.

Apparently, Steph Curry and LeBron James have over stepped their domains in life.

Stick to the basketball courts - certainly DO NOT use your extensive power and influence on social media to campaign for political and social change.

That has been the argument of many, as a US President is pitted against the biggest names in American sport.

I get this topic is divisive.

I get that many are uncomfortable with sporting heroes becoming political activists.

But tell me what is the difference between what these guys are doing and athletes of the past?

Muhammad Ali, who famously said of the VietCong "they never called me n*****," went to jail for his stance on the Vietnam War.

He was ridiculed by many sections of America.

He is now lauded for the stand he took.

The same applies to Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who stood with heads bowed and one fist raised on the dais, as the national anthem played for the 200 metre ceremony at the 1968 Olympics.

Dare I even raise the Springbok Tour of 1981, the biggest sporting story to hit New Zealand, which was politics and sport united at the hip.

The vitriol Richie McCaw copped for backing John Key's legacy project, a change of the New Zealand flag.

Even the untouchable McCaw wasn't immune to online abuse and finger pointing.

Eric Murray was another who decided to poke his head up on the flag debate, only to have it shot down when he dared to take the new flag onto the dais at the World Rowing Championships.

This week though, has been next level.

Hulking men - icons of the NFL - taking to one knee over what they consider to be a President persecuting their constitutional right to protest.

Donald Trump taking to Twitter time and time again, calling these players "SOB's", demanding they be sacked and fans turn on them by boycotting matches.

What I'm left with this, is this question - in 2017 what do we expect of our sportspeople?

Many still believe that sport and politics should never mix.

As one punter said to me this week, "I treat sport as my release from the issues of everyday life... not a forum for political debate."

On my weekend shows and my Facebook page, Veitchy on Sport, I copped it as well.

Stick to sport I was told, I have no right to have to say on politics.

My response - to continue the debate with even more vigour.

This is far and away the biggest sporting story in the world right now.

It goes beyond winning and losing, it's about life, values and beliefs.

It's also about sportspeople using their positions of influence for the greater good.

Do we really want our sporting stars to be devoid of colour, passion and personality?

To only tweet when they are at the dinner table?

You may not like it, but LeBron James and two hundred NFL players have as much right as any American citizen to speak up for what they believe in.

To accuse these athletes of somehow using this time and this issue as an avenue of self promotion is just laughable.

They are taking on the Leader of the Free World, who still carries sway with millions of Americans.

Do you really think Nike or Under Armour will be feeling 'comfortable' about their brand ambassadors alienating large sections of the population.

Come on!

As Curry said to American media on Monday, "Me not going to White House may not change anything, but at least I've made my stand."

Yes, one incensed veteran took to social media and burnt his season tickets in protest.

But on the same day, another wrote this: "As a 39 year military veteran, I think I know something about the flag, anthem and patriotism and I think I know why we fight.

"It's not to allow Trump to divide us by wrapping himself in the national banner."

Like it or not, politics always has and always will have a place in sport.

I commend, not condemn, athletes for staying true to what they believe in - it would have been so much easier for them to rest easy with their fame and fortunes and say nothing.