This year’s “ESPY Awards” on ABC opened with NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James delivering a message regarding last week’s death of two African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement, and the Dallas attack on police officers that left five dead and several others injured.
“We cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America,” Anthony said. “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 and the racial divide is definitely not new. But, the urgency to create change is at an all-time high.”
Chris Paul then listed off Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as “our reality,” hoping athletes can follow in the footsteps of John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe.
Wade added, “The racial profiling has to stop. The ‘shoot to kill’ mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence, in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough.”