NBA athletes stand up against racism at ESPY’s

NBA athletes stand up against racism at ESPY’s

Many of you saw Carmelo Anthony call upon his fellow athletes to put morals before money and take a stand against the recent, unjust police killings we’ve been witnessing in the Black community. And last night, he, along with Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, were the first to lead this charge, speaking directly to their fellow, Black athletes as the nation looked on.

Check out video here.

One by one the men took turns speaking about the violence and racism that plagues this country.

Anthony started by saying, “The system is broken. The problems are not new. The violence is not new. And the racial divide definitely is not new. But the urgency to create change is at an all-time high.”

Then, Chris Paul, as the nephew of a police officer spoke.

“We stand before you as fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, uncles, and in my case as an African-American man and the nephew of a police offer who is one of the hundreds of thousands of great officers serving this country but Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, LaQuan McDonald, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile — this is also our reality.”

D. Wade pushed the point even further, speaking directly to corrupt police officers.

“The shoot to kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough.”

And then LeBron, remembering the tradition of other athlete-activists like Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Billie Jean King and Muhammad Ali, called on his fellow athletes to do more and do better for the Black community.

“Tonight we’re honoring Muhammad Ali, the GOAT,” James said, “but to do his legacy any justice, let’s use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence. And most importantly, go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better.”

You can watch the speech, in its entirety, in the video above. I, for one, am very proud of these men for standing up the way they did. And I’m excited and hopeful to see what these four and their fellow colleagues do in the very near future. It’s time.