NEW YORK: NBA star Carmelo Anthony on Friday (Saturday in Manila) urged athletes to “step up” and “demand change,” following the shooting deaths of two black men at the hands of police and the slayings of five law enforcement officers in Dallas.
Anthony, a New York Knicks forward who could win an unprecedented third men’s Olympic basketball gold medal in Rio, posted a message on social media calling for athletes to help change a system that he described as “Broken. Point blank period.”
“I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change.
There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore.”
Five officers were killed, and seven police and two civilians were wounded in Dallas on Thursday night in a sniper-style attack during a peaceful protest against police brutality following the deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.
Anthony, 32, said advocating social justice was more important than doing nothing over fears a sponsor might walk away.
“We can’t worry about what endorsements we gonna lose or [who’s] going to look at us crazy. I need your voices to be heard,” Anthony pleaded.
Anthony, a 14-year NBA veteran, said he would be willing to lead the way but noted that nothing people have done so far has made a difference.
“I’m all about rallying, protesting, fighting for OUR people. Look I’ll even lead the charge, By Any Means Necessary,” he posted. “We have to be smart about what we are doing though. We need to steer our anger in the right direction.”
“Our anger should be towards the system… We have to put the pressure on the people in charge in order to get this thing we call JUSTICE right.”
The NBA issued a statement saying the league was “deeply troubled and concerned by the needless violence and loss of life, and we recognize that positive change starts with all of us standing up for the values we cherish — diversity, inclusiveness and respect for others.”
Other NBA players used social media to express sadness and frustration over the escalating violence.
“Another black man killed. Another young black kid without a dad. Think about that for a second,” tweeted Kevin Durant, a Rio Olympian who signed a $54.3 million deal Thursday with the Golden State Warriors.
Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki of Germany tweeted he was “Still in shock. Saddened to hear about the tragic events in Dallas… #StoptheViolence.”
NFL Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo posted, “Our community is stunned this morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to the fallen police officers and their loved ones.”
Third-ranked golfer Jordan Spieth, a Dallas native, tweeted: “Sad day for our city.. Prayers for the families and strength to believe this violence will stop on all fronts.”
Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish of baseball’s Texas Rangers tweeted: “Pray for my hometown.”