Carmelo Anthony spoke to Vice Sports about Monday’s town hall meeting in Los Angeles about police officer violence.
After Carmelo Anthony‘s influential Instagram post in the wake of the Dallas police shootings and taking front and center to open the ESPYs with friends LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul, the New York Knicks’ forward has become an advocate for professional athletes in the fight against police brutality.
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
Anthony was in South Central Los Angeles on Monday at the Challengers Boys and Girls Club, taking his latest and greatest step towards making a difference. Along with his USA Basketball teammates, Anthony organized an open dialogue between community leaders, police officers, and local kids. He spoke to Vice Sports about the experience, how this has affected him personally, and his future plans.
Anthony was asked what he expected to happen at the meeting and what surprised him.
“I was more surprised about the amount of people that spoke up. Coming into a situation like this, you don’t get a lot of people speaking up. They feel uncomfortable. Today was a situation where you had to be comfortable being uncomfortable and a lot of people said a lot of things. They got out of their comfort zones.”
He also spoke about his plans for New York City.
“I want to sit down with people and keep the conversations going in New York. New York is so big, man – different boroughs, you can impact it in different ways. For me, my focus would be on Baltimore. That’s something that’s small. That’s something that’s my backyard. Police brutality has been going on forever back there. It hasn’t been as public but when the Freddie Gray thing hit, that’s what really sparked everything.”
When Anthony came into the league he was just 19 and wasn’t considered a very serious kid. He had notorious feuds with the likes of George Karl, Mike D’Antoni, and even Jeremy Lin, but clearly he’s grown up. Anthony was asked about the changes in his life, and his personal attachment growing up in Baltimore.
“I think that, when one thing happens and you step out there and you say something – you speak on that topic – then another thing happens, then another thing happens and it starts snowballing. Everybody expects you to say something about every single thing and then it’s not impactful. There’s not any kind of empowerment when it comes to that kind of stuff. So much happens, and you really have to pick your battles. A lot of the things that have happened as of late, over the past year or two, have hit home. That was the reason for me to really speak out, because it was in my backyard.”
Anthony even spoke about running away from the cops when he was a kid.
“It’s a fortunate and unfortunate situation, because I was able to get out of my situation through basketball. So I got out of that and, after a while, you start distancing yourself from those daily acts in your life that happen on a daily basis. Interactions with police, running from police, on your block getting pulled over. You start growing away from that and once you see it, it starts bringing back memories and touching home. Now, it kind of pulls you back until when I was 12, 13, 14.”
Anthony’s most important message though was once again stating that the system was broken and he’s going to try to change it.
“I’m going to continue saying that the system is definitely broken. For sure, the system is broken. That was one of the messages today to the police: We – me, personally – understand what you’re going through from that perspective, because the system is broken and it’s bigger than ya’ll. But that doesn’t mean you have to conduct yourselves the way you’re conducting yourselves. I’ll sit and talk to any and everybody. Whoever’s going to make a change, I’m going to sit and talk to them.”
As Carmelo Anthony goes in search of his record third Olympic gold medal it’s clear there couldn’t be a better advocate for change than an athlete who’s experienced such a dramatic personal change himself.