New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony participated in the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore on April 30.
Just when we thought the Baltimore riots won’t take on another interesting twist, it does. This time, an NBA star is involved.
Bleacher Report’s Kyle Newport broke the news of Melo’s participation on Thursday. This just goes to show everybody millionaire pro athletes really do care about issues that affect them.
This is one issue that cut to Anthony’s core—he spent part of his childhood in Baltimore, per Newport. With that, you can’t blame the guy for taking a stand.
If you recall, Anthony signed a five-year, $130 million contract extension with the Knicks last summer, per USA TODAY. He had a chance to play for contenders such as the Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets, but chose to remain in the Big Apple to help new head coach Derek Fisher and team president Phil Jackson turn things around.
However, it wasn’t meant to be.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported on Feb. 18 Anthony was to sit out the rest of the season due to a knee injury. New York’s fortunes took a serious tumble, finishing with the league’s second-worst win-loss record (17-65) and missing the playoffs for the second year in a row, per LandOfBasketball.com.
ESPN sources say that Knicks will officially rule Carmelo Anthony out for rest of the season later Wednesday
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 18, 2015
Since then, we haven’t heard all that much from Anthony. Now we have, and him standing up for a serious cause is indeed a breath of fresh air.
Carmelo Anthony Takes Part In Baltimore Protests
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony wrote an Instagram post on April 27 expressing his thoughts and sentiments on the ongoing Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore:
We all want Justice. And our city will get the answers we are looking for. My deepest sympathy goes out to the GRAY Family. To see my city in a State of Emergency is just shocking. We need to protect our city, not destroy it. What happens when we get the answers that we want, and the media attention is not there anymore? We go back to being the same ol Baltimore City again. If not yourself, then Think about the youth. How this will impact them. Let’s build our city up not tear it down. Although, we want justice, let’s look at the real issues at hand. For example, When was the last school built in Baltimore? That’s just one example. I know my community is fed up. I’m all about fighting for what we believe in. The anger, the resentment, the neglect that our community feels right now, will not change over night. Continue, fighting for what you believe in. But remember, it takes no time to destroy something. But, it can take forever to build it back up. Peace7. #Thisonehitshome #BeMore #LetsNotFallForTheTrap “Please Understand What State Of Emergency Mean”(Destroy and Conquer) #StayMe7o
Apparently, Anthony wasn’t content with just putting his thoughts on paper. He literally went to Baltimore on April 30 to take part in the protests wearing a “Cassius Clay” pullover hoodie:
A photo posted by aaron maybin (@aaronmaybin) on
Anthony explained to CNN’s Ryan Young (via NewsDay.com’s Mike Rose) why this cause is important not only to him, but to the entire country as well:
This is my community. But it’s also not my community, it’s everybody’s community. It’s America’s community.
So for me to come back here and be a part of a community where I grew up and really get a chance to kind of talk to the people and get a feel for what’s going on, I had to come. It was only right for me to come down here.
I was one of them. So when I come back home it’s all love, everything is cool. But I’m here for a different cause right now. I’m supporting my community.
I’m here to talk to the youth about kind of just calming things down here in the city. We’re going to get the justice that we want. It’s going to take some time.
Our message to everybody is just calm down. Just try to be patient. I know that’s easier said than done right now to be patient, but we have to be patient in order for us to get what we want.
Gray was a 25-year-old African-American whom authorities took into custody on April 12 for possessing a switchblade. He fell into a coma while in transport and died a week later due to a severe spinal cord injury.
Baltimore police commissioner Anthony Batts attributed Gray’s death for the attending officers’ failure to provide timely medical intervention. He also alleges they did not buckle his seatbelt while inside the police van.
Gray’s death has resulted in ongoing violent protests in Baltimore which prompted Maryland governor Larry Hogan to declare a state of emergency in the city.
If the Baltimore police officers’ intervention (as Commissioner Betts claims) was untimely, Carmelo Anthony’s was.
When Anthony wrote his Instagram post on April 27, things took a turn for the worse in Baltimore. The supposedly peaceful Freddie Gray protests became violent, with rampant looting and vandalism, per CNN.
As of now, we do not know the real reason why Freddie Gray died. All we know is a lot of people—young ones at that—are blaming the Baltimore police. That being said, they are in no mood to listen to the pleadings of authorities to end their senseless and random acts of violence.
So here’s Carmelo Anthony to the rescue.
Anthony taking part in such an activity is sure to go viral on social media, and we all know how powerful a tool that can be. He backed up his Instagram post with action—something we hope the hoodlums will pay attention to.
An NBA star taking a peaceful stand ought to help end the violence. It won’t happen as soon as we want it to, but it eventually will, thanks to Melo.
All we can hope for is for other NBA stars, athletes and people of high stature to follow suit in crying out for peace. Anthony’s act seemed genuine in an era when many pro athletes participate in community causes to hog all the attention.
Was there anything negative about what Melo did on Thursday? None that we can think of. We’re all praises for him.
Carmelo Anthony’s New York Knicks may not have won too many games last season, but at least he won the hearts of many for his battle for peace in Baltimore.