With the recent spate of violence across the country, professional athletes have become increasingly outspoken about the topics of gun control, the militarization of police, and systemic racial inequity. Some, like the WNBA players who came out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement last week, have paid the price both literally and figuratively, although the league eventually ended up doing the right thing by rescinding the fines they initially levied following threats of a boycott.
During the ESPYs earlier this month, a handful of NBA players – Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony – seized the opportunity to deliver an impromptu call for peace, stricter gun legislation, and greater accountability among law enforcement, albeit without specifically referencing the aforementioned Black Lives Matter movement.
Anthony has been particularly vocal about the topic lately and is now reportedly organizing a private meeting of community leaders in Los Angeles to try and figure out what can be done to help mitigate some of these issues. Via SI.com:
“You have to keep the conversation going and dialogue going,” Anthony said. “If you don’t, then you just become another tragedy that happens that everybody forgot about.
“We want to get youth. We want to get kids. We want to get adults. We want to get officers. We want to get teachers,” Anthony added. “We want to get community leaders, athletes, everybody, having this conversation and talking on both sides, hearing each other out. It’s part of continuing what I started off.
“The problem is, people don’t have answers. I think everybody is searching for answers. People are searching for what to do and how to do it. We’re not going to find answers overnight. It’s not going to happen.”
It’s a good start. The NBA has proven that, as a unified entity, it can leverage its considerable political and economic clout to affect tangible social change, the recent relocation of the 2017 All-Star Game because of North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ legislation being the latest example. It’ll be interesting to see exactly what sort of concrete action will come out of the growing social consciousness infiltrating the world of professional sports.