‘Ted Lasso’ Stars on Tackling Social Issues in Season 2 With Sam’s Sponsorship
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Ted Lasso, Season 2, Episode 3, “Do the Right-est Thing.”]
Ted Lasso knows how to make viewers laugh, but it’s also the show’s deeper moments that really set the comedy apart from others, and in Season 2’s episode, “Do the Right-est Thing,” that depth is taking center stage.
One of the biggest topics swirling around sports in the last few years has been the form of protesting players take against social issues. A prime example many American football fans will recall is Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
And now, Apple TV+’s beloved series is also taking a stand against an issue close to AFC Richmond player Sam Obisanya’s (Toheeb Jimoh) heart. After agreeing to partake in a campaign for the team’s sponsor DubaiAir, Sam learns the company is associated directly with the pollution taking place in his home country of Nigeria.
When he decides he can’t stand for a company that would harm the environment, particularly his homeland, Sam asks to be removed from the campaign and even covers DubaiAir on his football kit. “I’m a big believer in [the idea] that athletes are more than just athletes,” Jimoh tells TV Insider. “Once you stand at the forefront of a community, then you have a responsibility to speak out about certain things.”
It’s definitely an encouraging sign of unity among AFC Richmond’s ranks as Sam receives support from not only Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), but also his longtime antagonist Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). “She realizes that she does give a s**t about this team, and more importantly, she really gives a s**t about her players,” Waddingham says. “I don’t think she questions it when Sam expresses his concern.”
That concern manifests itself in a stern email from Rebecca to a longtime acquaintance who runs DubaiAir. “He is so eloquent in the way he holds himself in that moment that she couldn’t be prouder of him. So she has no choice but to stand with him,” Waddingham continues in regards to Rebecca’s desire to do the right thing for the promising player.
Jamie’s support of Sam was both surprising and unsurprising at the same time as Dunster says, “I think that his intention is one of connection.” Jamie is one of the first teammates to cover his DubaiAir logo on the football kit after Sam does. The other players end up following suit as well.
“I was very emotional just reading it,” Waddingham admits. “I just thought it was beautifully written that all these guys that tease and josh each other all the time were absolutely a united front about it.” Whether this statement will have certain repercussions will remain to be seen, but there’s no denying it’s a team effort on all sides.
“The whole show does not exist in a vacuum, and the creators of the show are responsible people who want to listen to what the world is telling them and change and understand and provide a platform to do that,” Dunster says of the bold storyline.
At the end of the day, Jimoh is proud to represent such a topical subject within the show. “I’m glad that more people are starting to do that,” he says, “and I’m glad that we got to see Sam jump into that a little bit.” See what else he’s jumping into as Season 2 continues on Apple TV+.
Ted Lasso, Season 2, New Episodes, Fridays, Apple TV+