Carmelo Anthony the activist is at it again. The NBA superstar has expressed his solidarity with WNBA players from New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, and Indiana Fever, who were fined for wearing black t-shirts to draw attention to the recent killings of Philando Castile, Alton Starling and five Dallas police officers. All three teams were fined $5,000 and each player was also fined $500.
Anthony contrasted the reprimand the WNBA players received with the NBA players who were not similarly punished after comparable protests.
“A bunch of teams did it […] Everyone has their own freedom of speech if they decide to use the platform,” Anthony told ESPN. I don’t see no reason for anybody to get fined. We did it [3 ¹/₂ years ago after the Trayvon Martin shooting]. The NBA did it. The NBA was very supportive. I don’t see any difference in this matter. Right now the players have a very strong stance in what they believe in. I don’t think anyone should be fighting that at this moment.”
A prominent athlete who has been vocal about fighting gun violence in the past, Anthony is currently setting up a meeting in Los Angeles with community leaders and politicians to discuss police violence. Unlike other many other athletes, Anthony is willing to speak out about social issues regardless of any criticism he might face, and has previously encouraged other athletes to do the same.
Anthony and the WNBA players protesting violence are athletes using their platform for good, and others would do well to consider following their lead. The world of sports isn’t detached from the rest of society, and with millions of followers, athletes can have a powerful impact when they choose to speak up.