Earlier this month, Carmelo Anthony, along with LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, addressed the issue of police-related shootings and race relations in America during the ESPYs. It was a brave decision that showed how some of the biggest stars in the NBA were ready to be part of a conversation that needs to happen.
Now, Anthony is showing that his commitment goes beyond a single speech on national television. The Knicks' star forward is planning a meeting with community leaders, athletes and politicians in Los Angeles to discuss the issue, as he told ESPN's Sage Steele and Ian Begley.
"We want to get youth. We want to get kids. We want to get adults. We want to get officers. We want to get teachers," Anthony said. "We want to get community leaders, athletes, everybody having this conversation and talking on both sides hearing each other out. It's part of continuing what I started off."
The town hall event is aiming to have as many voices heard as possible. The objective is to advance the conversation, as Anthony made sure to point out that he's aware nobody has all the answers. His hope is that events like this can help solve the problem.
"You have to keep the conversation going and dialogue going," Anthony said. "If you don't, then you just become another tragedy that happens that everybody forgot about."
It's not surprising to see Anthony take an active role in organizing this event, as he has been outspoken about these issues in the past. He even attended a #BlackLivesMatter protest in Baltimore last year following Freddie Gray's death. He's recently become more vocal, not only speaking about it during the ESPYs, but also on Instagram and in interviews.
First off let me start off by saying " All Praise Due To The Most High." Secondly, I'm all about rallying, protesting, fighting for OUR people. Look I'll even lead the charge, By Any Means Necessary. We have to be smart about what we are doing though. We need to steer our anger in the right direction. The system is Broken. Point blank period. It has been this way forever. Martin Luther King marched. Malcolm X rebelled. Muhammad Ali literally fought for US. Our anger should be towards the system. If the system doesn't change we will continue to turn on the TVs and see the same thing. We have to put the pressure on the people in charge in order to get this thing we call JUSTICE right. A march doesn't work. We tried that. I've tried that. A couple social media post/tweet doesn't work. We've all tried that. That didn't work. Shooting 11 cops and killing 5 WILL NOT work. While I don't have a solution, and I'm pretty sure a lot of people don't have a solution, we need to come together more than anything at this time. We need each other. These politicians have to step up and fight for change. 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. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge. We can't worry about what endorsements we gonna lose or whose going to look at us crazy. I need your voices to be heard. We can demand change. We just have to be willing to. THE TIME IS NOW. IM all in. Take Charge. Take Action. DEMAND CHANGE. Peace7 #StayMe7o
When WNBA players recently got fined for wearing black warmup shirts, Anthony supported their decision.
"Everyone has their own freedom of speech if they decide to use the platform," Anthony said, according to the New York Post. "I don't see no reason for anybody to get fined. We did it [three and a half years ago after the Trayvon Martin shooting]. The NBA did it. The NBA was very supportive. I don't see any difference in this matter. Right now, the players have a very strong stance in what they believe in right now. I don't think anyone should be fighting that at this moment."
This is an issue Anthony clearly feels strongly about. It's commendable that even in the midst of a busy schedule that includes commitments to Team USA, he's keeping his word to continue to provide his leadership. That's not common, as athletes often face backlash for getting involved in these issues instead of sticking on sports.
Anthony has been clear that public opinion won't affect his decision to continue a conversation that is clearly important to him.
"I won't listen to anybody that tells me I shouldn't do this or shouldn't do that."