Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Anthony Edwards' Apology Is 'Meaningless' Without Volunteer Work

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 19, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 14: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attends the Los Angeles premiere of Apple's "They Call Me Magic" at Regency Village Theatre on April 14, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wants to see more than just words from Anthony Edwards after the Minnesota Timberwolves guard made anti-gay comments.

Abdul-Jabbar wrote about Edwards on his Substack (h/t Brad Sullivan of Lakers Daily) and said the best way for the young player to "repair the damage" is through volunteer work instead of just an apology:

"It would be easy to dismiss Edwards' immaturity—he's only 21—if not for the fact that we've seen so many cases of famous athletes and owners in the news spouting racism, misogyny, and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments. This damages sports in general and their teams specifically, and revives the old stereotype of the dumb, bullying jock.

"But more important, it perpetuates prejudice against a group and that prejudice often leads to restricting rights and to violence. I don't think an apology—however heartfelt—is enough. Edwards needs to repair the damage with some voluntary community service with LGBTQ+ organizations, particularly youth groups, to show his support. If he can't do that much to undo the harm he's caused, then his apology is meaningless."

Edwards was heard on a video using anti-gay language to criticize a group of men, which led to plenty of criticism on social media.

He took to Twitter on Sept. 11 and said he was "incredibly sorry" for using such language:

Anthony Edwards @theantedwards_

What I said was immature, hurtful, and disrespectful, and I’m incredibly sorry. It’s unacceptable for me or anyone to use that language in such a hurtful way, there’s no excuse for it, at all. I was raised better than that!

Abdul-Jabbar is one of the best players in NBA history, but he is known for more than just his basketball ability.

He was a social justice activist during and after his career, and the NBA even created the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Trophy to honor the player who follows in his footsteps when it comes to social justice.

He has also never hesitated to criticize current players, including LeBron James, for what he sees as failures to live up to certain standards, and Edwards is the latest example.

Edwards, who was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft, figures to be a face of the franchise for the Timberwolves for years to come. Abdul-Jabbar believes there is an opportunity to mitigate some of the harm he caused with his words but only through certain actions.