In a piece published Friday morning on The Player’s Tribune, Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns wrote about how the recent events in Charlottesville impacted him.
“In Charlottesville, I think we saw a more visible form of racism. We don’t see it so public very often, but that kind of hate is sadly … kind of normal. Obviously I don’t mean normal as in acceptable. It’s not. It’s evil. I mean normal as in this is nothing new in our country. It’s something we experience or hear about growing up. America has been struggling with racism since Day One. Our country is built on this. It’s our history.”
The 21-year-old center said race has been a discussion in the Timberwolves’ locker room recently, especially after the Philando Castile verdict. Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer while his girlfriend filmed the incident on Facebook Live.
“My Timberwolves teammates and I talked about Philando after that tragedy and his name came up now and then over the last season — because, with that incident, it felt personal. It was a Twin Cities thing. It hit close to home. I don’t remember exactly what we said, but it was kind of like this: We’re all sitting there, as minorities in a league that’s mostly minority, and we’re wondering, What if I didn’t play in the NBA … would that be me?”
Towns also criticized the president’s response to Charlottesville, saying that denouncing white supremacy should have been a “layup.”
NBA players and coaches have consistently been critical of the president over the last year and the NBA champion Warriors are unlikely to visit the White House to celebrate their victory.
Towns acknowledges in his article that speaking out may draw some criticism from fans, but says commenting on social issues is important for athletes. He wrote:
“They’ll say “stick to sports” and woo-woo-woo. But I believe the culture is changing when it comes to athletes speaking out on the things that really matter.”