Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon said there's "no place in our society" for Confederate statues after last weekend's violence involving white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"I'm a person that thinks things should not be glorified that do not do the country any justice," he said. "For example, these statues, I think they stand still, but all they do is divide people. At this point in time I think America needs to be unified and the statues are clearly something that's not unifying people. It's going to continue to create a divide within our communities. I think they have no place in our society right now."
The 24-year-old Atlanta native also spoke out about the idea athletes should "stick to sports" and avoid using their place in the spotlight to discuss politics and other hot-button issues.
"I think it's extremely offensive. I think it puts us in a bubble. I think it simply implies that because we're athletes we don't have a say, we don't have an opinion, or we don't have the educational background to comment on things outside of sports," he told SI. "I just think it's absurd. I encourage all athletes to speak out if they're comfortable to do it. I think it's our duty, I don't think it's something we really have a choice to do. If you have a platform, you should speak out. It's the morally right thing to do."
Holly Yan, Devon M. Sayers and Steve Almasy of CNN reported three individuals were killed during the events surrounding the "Unite the Right" rally. Heather Heyer died after a car drove into a crowd of counter-protesters and Virginia state patrol troopers H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates died when the helicopter they used to monitor the situation crashed.
The incident has ignited a debate about the potential removal of Confederate statues, per Doreen McCallister of NPR. The rally in Charlottesville was originally planned to protest taking down a statue depicting Confederate General Robert E. Lee in the city.
Brogdon spent five years with the Virginia basketball program before getting selected by the Bucks in the second round of the 2016 draft. He was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year of the 2016-17 season.