Sportress of Blogitude

Carmelo Anthony calls on athletes to be leaders in op-ed piece

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Carmelo Anthony penned a powerful op-ed piece for The Guardian in which he calls on his fellow professional athletes to utilize their high profiles to effectuate social change.

Asking early on in the piece “Do athletes have a responsibility to stand up?”, Anthony suggests that everyone has an obligation to “rise up and make their voices heard” but points out that athletes “have the biggest reach, especially now with social media and all the people that follow us.”

In closing the piece, Anthony mentions the athletes-turned-social activists who paved the way for those of this modern era to feel comfortable in being a participant in social activism.

“We all know our history, especially when it comes to sports and activism,” Anthony writes. “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.”

Anthony’s op-ed piece echoes comments he made in a passionate Instagram post in the wake of the deaths of two black men at the hands of police and the shooting deaths of Dallas officers present at a protest that followed in response.

Anthony also mentions in the op-ed that he is considering leading his Team USA Basketball teammates in some kind of political expression at the Olympics.

“For me, I do feel like this is a platform where we should – we as athletes, we as Americans – use it for something,” Anthony writes.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently praised players like Anthony for speaking publicly on social issues.

“I am absolutely in favor of players speaking out and speaking from the heart about whatever issues are important to them,” he said.”