Last Friday, Carmelo Anthony responded to the news about the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile shootings by posting a strongly worded message on his web site and Instagram. He talked at length about why he believes more athletes need to "step up" and address important social issues rather than shying away from doing it because of their endorsement deals.
On Wednesday morning, Carmelo continued his crusade to force more athletes to be active in social discussions by putting together an op-ed that was published by The Guardian. In his piece, Carmelo admits he doesn’t have an answer for all of the recent violence in the U.S., but he said that everyone—from pro athletes to mailmen to homeless people—needs to "keep this conversation going" in order to push America towards a better future. He also said that, while he doesn’t have a specific plan in place yet, he is planning on using his platform at the 2016 Summer Olympics to make some kind of statement:
In three weeks I’ll travel to Rio with the United States’ Olympic team to perform on a global stage. I haven’t spoken with my team-mates yet about the opportunity before us and how we can take advantage of it, because at the end of the day, I want it to be genuine. If you don’t feel like you want to make a statement or make a stand, then don’t do it. You shouldn’t feel forced to do it. You have to want to do that. For me, I do feel like this is a platform where we should—we as athletes, we as Americans—use it for something. Whether we make a statement out there or send a message, we can show the world that we’re united. Whatever way we want to do it, this is a chance to do something meaningful before an audience of billions. I don’t know what that something is yet, but we still have time to figure it out.
Additionally, Carmelo once again called on his fellow athletes to take stands and voice opinions on social issues. Here's what he wrote at the end of his op-ed:
We all know our history, especially when it comes to sports and activism. We know Ali. We know Jim Brown. We know Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But over the years as athletes started making more money, they started thinking: I don’t want people to talk bad about me for talking politics. But this is not really about politics. There’s nothing political about taking a stand and speaking on what you believe in. The teams and the support systems around athletes urge them to stay away from politics, stay away from religion, stay away from this, stay away from that. But at certain times, you’ve just got to put all of that aside and be a human being. That time is now.
"Be a human being." Well said. It’ll be interesting to see what Carmelo has in mind for the Olympics, but for now, it’s great to see him speaking so openly about his social concerns.