Towns addressed race in America among a wide variety of topics in an article posted on Friday, offering an impassioned plea for people to seriously consider the state of the country and its racial tensions decades after the violence and struggle of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
“Let’s start with the facts: Charlottesville was not only a sign that racism is still alive, but also a showing of the lack of love and respect humanity has for each other,” Towns wrote. Writing about Charlottesville and also the death of Philandro Castille in Minneapolis last year, Towns said the Castille shooting hit home for himself and many of his teammates.
My Timberwolves teammates and I talked about Philando after that tragedy and his name came up now and then over the last season — because, with that incident, it felt personal. It was a Twin Cities thing. It hit close to home. I don’t remember exactly what we said, but it was kind of like this: We’re all sitting there, as minorities in a league that’s mostly minority, and we’re wondering, What if I didn’t play in the NBA… would that be me?
One thing Towns stressed is that he wasn’t shocked by Charlottesville or the Castille incident. Which, of course, is part of the problem. He was, however, disappointed by the response Donald Trump had to the incident in Charlottesville.
It’s disheartening when our President doesn’t understand his words carry a tremendous amount of weight. It’s really hard to see our President refuse to stand up for what’s right — at a time when the country needs it. Especially for minorities. It’s not like we’re talking about taxes or something. We’re talking about the big issue that has divided the country since its birth.
If there’s one thing you can fairly say about The Players’ Tribune it’s that it has given athletes a forum to state their feelings about any number of issues. Finding a medium for your voice can be difficult if you’re not comfortable on Twitter or editing yourself, and the site gives players a structured destination for what they’re passionate about. This is a different side of Towns, for sure, but it’s yet another example of a notable NBA player using his voice to call for change in society.