NBA stars and friends Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James made a powerful and necessary statement about racism, racial profiling and police violence at Wednesday’s ESPY Awards. Sparked by the recent deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and Delrawn Small, the four took the stage to stress that “enough is enough.”
“The four of us are talking to our fellow athletes with the county watching because we cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America,” Anthony began. “The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that have plagued so many of us. The system is broken, the problems are not new, the violence is not new and the racial divide definitely is not new. But, the urgency to create change is at an all-time high.”
Paul then added that he while understands that there are plenty of dedicated and good police officers out there, that doesn’t negate the fact that we are living in an epidemic of police brutality.
“Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Laquon McDonald, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile. This is our reality. Generations ago, those like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and countless others set a model for what athletes should stand for, so we should follow in their footsteps” he stressed.
Wade continued on saying that “racial profiling has to stop.”
“The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value in black or brown bodies has to stop. But also retaliation has to stop. The end of gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough” he said.
And for James, the four of them speaking out in this way is part of their higher responsibility as athletes.
“It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, What are we doing to make a change? I know tonight we’ll honor Muhammad Ali, the GOAT. And to do his legacy any justice, let’s use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence” he concluded.
According to journalist TJ Holmes, this speech was the brainchild of the players, not the network.
And Twitter was here for the message.