In the wake of the deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and the five police officers in Dallas, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James opened up the ESPY Awards with a call to action. In front of hundreds of athletes and celebrities in attendance, the four men spoke out for social justice as well as an athlete’s duty to exact change.
“The system is broken,” Anthony said. “The problems are not new, the violence is not new and the racial divide is not new,” Anthony said.
Paul, who spoke after Anthony invoked the memories of Muhammed Ali, Jackie Robinson and others as examples for modern athletes to follow.
“They set a model for what athletes should stand for, so we choose to follow in their footsteps” he said.
Both Wade and James echoed the sentiment that athletes should use their influence for social progress.
“It’s time to look in a mirror and ask ourselves, ‘What are we doing to create change?’” James said.