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Carmelo Anthony says athletes should use Olympic platform to speak out

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 continued to urge athletes to speak out on social issues and hinted that next month’s Rio Olympics could be a good platform to do that.

The Knicks star wrote a column in The Guardian on Wednesday and asked his “colleagues” to “step up.” Anthony also wrote a personal essay on his website last week asking athletes to help bring about change in America in light of the shootings of black men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, and five Dallas police officers.

“When I chose to speak out, it was a matter of being honest, speaking from the heart about what’s going on and calling on my colleagues to step up, get out there and put pressure on the people in charge to not let this happen anymore. No more hashtags,” Anthony wrote in the British newspaper The Guardian.

“Do athletes have a responsibility to stand up? I don’t want to put it all on athletes. I believe all people need to rise up and make their voices heard. But I do think that athletes have the biggest reach, especially now with social media and all the people that follow us.”

Anthony will participate in his fourth Olympics next month as a member of the U.S. men’s basketball team. Anthony said some athletes, but not all, may want to take advantage of the world stage in Rio.

“I haven’t spoken with my teammates 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,” Anthony wrote. “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.”

Anthony also urged athletes to not be afraid to speak out over fear of losing endorsement deals.

“No athlete should think: If I speak up, I’m going to lose an endorsement or a sponsorship,” Anthony wrote. “Because if that’s the case then you have to question the kind of people that you’re doing business with and ask yourself where their heads and morals are at.”

On Wednesday night in the opening moments of the ESPYS broadcast in Los Angeles, Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James took the stage together and urged their fellow athletes to be social activists.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, speaking in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, told reporters that he is in favor of athletes speaking out on issues.

New York Sports