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The ESPY Awards and how athletes take on social issues

 NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James
NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James

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Yesterday at the 2016 ESPY Awards four NBA stars commented on racial injustice and police violence in America. 

Lebron James, along with NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul alluded to recent events in Dallas and incidents with African American men and police. 


For more on the show, and to talk about athletes and social issues, we talk to Kelvin Washington of ESPN LA.

Interview Highlights

How'd it look on stage, was it subtle, what were the optics? 

"I think that was the power in it, I think it was the fact that there wasn't a bunch of show, was more focused on them and their words and the way that they stood next to each other, it seemed very united, they all stood tall. So, I think the power was in the athletes themselves and the way that they positioned themselves while then relaying the words that they did."

What's the reaction been like?

"...I don't think people were as shocked or awed by it because I think we've seen athlete's tweet, we've seen athletes post on Instagram or maybe do a 10 second video so we're a bit more accustomed to it as opposed to a lot of the athletes that Chris Paul mentioned back in the 50's, 60's and 70's where you were maybe a pariah if you were to speak out on certain things back then so...but the buzz was a very united buzz I think the ESPYS draws that because of the fact that it's generating funds for the V foundation and cancer research, remember Caitlyn Jenner last year? There's always been a powerful speech, there's always been a powerful message..."

What do you think resonated the most?

"The fact that they did it, I know that that seems simple, but the fact that they did it and the fact that they did it on that stage and that platform. And the best part about it is, you and I --we're all having this conversation, we're having that dialogue and...nothing can change overnight...we all know it's going to take time, it's going to take changes in laws and reform in certain areas but the reality is we have to have an open and honest dialogue and when that happens, you can then at least have respect for one another. You and I may not agree on everything, we may not see things eye to eye, but at least we can have a respect..."

To hear the full segment, click the blue play button above.

This post has been updated.