Sports World Reacts to News of Shootings, ProtestsJuly 8, 2016
Amid social unrest following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and subsequent killing of five police officers in Dallas, a number of professional athletes have taken to social media to express their frustration with the cultural climate.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed his thoughts via a series of tweets:
Protests sprung up nationwide following the deaths of Sterling and Castile, who were killed by police in separate incidents this week.
One such peaceful demonstration turned violent in Dallas when gunshots came firing down from an elevated location, aimed in the direction of police officers. Five officers were killed, seven were wounded and two citizens suffered injuries, according to Nick Thompson and Hilary Whiteman of CNN.
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony took to Instagram, calling for citizens and fellow athletes to demand change and not react with violence:
We need to steer our anger in the right direction. The system is Broken. Point blank period. It has been this way forever. Martin Luther King marched. Malcolm X rebelled. Muhammad Ali literally fought for US. Our anger should be towards the system. If the system doesn't change we will continue to turn on the TVs and see the same thing. We have to put the pressure on the people in charge in order to get this thing we call JUSTICE right. A march doesn't work. We tried that. I've tried that. A couple social media post/tweet doesn't work. We've all tried that. That didn't work. Shooting 11 cops and killing 5 WILL NOT work. While I don't have a solution, and I'm pretty sure a lot of people don't have a solution, we need to come together more than anything at this time. We need each other. These politicians have to step up and fight for change. I'm calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change. There's NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge.
On Friday, the NBA and WNBA released a joint statement on the incidents, via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the Tuesday death of Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, per Al-Jazeera. Sterling was shot "four to six times" during an altercation with two white police officers, which was recorded by a number of citizens and then posted online. The videos sparked widespread outrage over what was perceived to be excessive force.
A number of athletes commented in the aftermath:
A day later, Castile was killed in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, following a traffic stop. In a video posted on Facebook Live, Castile's fiancee, Diamond Reynolds, said Castile was reaching for his wallet when the officer shot him. Reynolds said Castile had told the officer he was carrying a licensed firearm.
Reaction continued to pour in:
Three suspects have been taken into custody in Dallas, and one was killed following a standoff with police. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was among many inside and outside of the greater Dallas community to offer his thoughts:
The suspect who died has been identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, who claimed to be a U.S. Army veteran, according to CBS News.
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