Via ESPN 2016
HOWARD BRYANT: It sounds like there’s a sort of tipping point that’s happening around the country. When I talk to younger people, they have this attitude like, “We’re supposed to be past this. This is why I’m upset.” And then I talk to my uncles and they’re like, “See, this is how it is. This is nothing new.”
CARMELO ANTHONY: This is the new ’60s right here. Everybody I talk to, my mom and uncles and friends, they say the same thing. They’re like, “What you’re seeing right now, we’d seen it already. It’s new to you, but it’s not new to us.” I think it’s bigger and much deeper than just actually seeing what’s happening out there. Not just police brutality but so many other issues out there that are being swept under the rug. Our educational system is messed up. Schools are closing left and right.
HB: What you’re touching on is the one part of this that’s been really difficult for me and people wanting to talk about Colin Kaepernick. They’re not focusing on why he’s doing what he’s doing. They look at Baltimore and they’re not looking at the fabric of Baltimore. You have no parks. You’ve got no infrastructure. What do you expect that to look like if you’re taking all the resources out of the community?
CA: When you don’t have resources, it becomes hopeless. There’s nothing to look forward to. I know when I was coming up, it was after-school. We had rec centers to go to in our neighborhoods. We had parks to go play in. We had football fields to go to. You had different things that you could go do. I always find it fascinating when I go back to my community and kids that I have known, or their parents, just hearing them talk. The one thing I get out of it is they just want a voice. They just want to be heard. It’s like, “We want everybody to hear us.”
HB: When you talk about this, you’re not really talking about police brutality specifically. You keep saying, “The system is broken.”
CA: The system is broken. It trickles down. It’s the education. You’ve got to be educated to know how to deal with police. The police have to be educated on how to deal with people. The system has to put the right police in the right situations. Like, you can’t put white police in the ‘hood. You just can’t do that. They don’t know how to react. They don’t know how to respond to those different situations. They’ve never been around that, you know? When I was growing up, we knew police by their first name. We gave them the nicknames. But that’s only because we related. And when the white police came into our neighborhood, the black police said, “Yo, we got this.” That doesn’t happen anymore. You got black police afraid to go into black communities now, and the white police are like, “S—, I’ll come. It’s a job. I’ll go in there and do it.” Not knowing what’s going to happen.
I think athletes now are just going off of what they’re seeing now, which is what? Police brutality. Police killing people. You haven’t seen one thing about schools closing. There’s no rec centers. You haven’t seen none of that on the news. All you see is police killing people. And if I’m sitting there watching that every day all day, I’m going to feel a certain kind of way. Like, against the police. If it was showing schools and why they shut them down and there’s no funding for this and no funding for that, you would feel a certain way about that too. But that’s not what they’re putting out there.
HB: The thing that bothers me most about this is that people believe, especially about black athletes and black professionals in general, “Well, you made it. What’s the problem?” They seem to treat you as if having success forfeits your voice, when actually it should empower your voice.