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Carmelo Anthony: Athletes ‘have to step up and take charge’ to help bring change to America

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks attends

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks attends an NASL match between the Indy Eleven and the Puerto Rico Football Club in Bayamon, Puerto Rico on July 2, 2016. Credit: EPA / Thais Llorca

Carmelo Anthony wrote a personal essay on his website Friday in which he called upon athletes to help bring about change in America in light of recent shootings.

“I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge,” the star Knicks forward wrote. “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.”

The post came after two police-involved shooting deaths of black men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, and a fatal shooting during a protest in Dallas that left five police officers dead and seven wounded.

Anthony said in the post that “we need to steer our anger in the right direction. The system is Broken. Point blank period. It has been this way forever.”

Anthony then hearkened back to Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali’s various fights for justice.

“A march doesn’t work,” Anthony wrote. “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.”

Anthony added that athletes “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.”

New Knicks center Joakim Noah reacted to Anthony’s essay at his introductory news conference Friday.

“It’s really really sad what’s going on and it’s been going on for a while,” Noah said. “Kids killing kids. It’s very important to be aware of what’s going on. Not just the police brutality but all these guns. It’s all our problem. It’s all our problem. It’s not just because you don’t come from a neighborhood where kids are killing each other, that it’s not your problem. Why are kids getting their hands on AKs? Why? It doesn’t make any sense to me. And the answer is because it’s a business. This has to stop. It’s out of control. It’s really sad. Whatever we can do to help, we can help. I think one of the solutions is just being proactive, putting in work in these community centers, keeping these kids involved and aware of what’s going on — keep the active. Some of these kids have nothing. I think it’s very important to help in any way possible.”

“We offer our most sincere condolences to every family impacted by the recent tragic events in Baton Rouge, Dallas and St. Paul,” the NBA and WNBA said in a joint statement. “All of us are 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. We will keep these families in our thoughts as we continue to work to build stronger, safer communities.”

With Al Iannazzone

New York Sports