On Monday during Team USA Basketball practice in Las Vegas, Carmelo Anthony was mostly all smiles.  But afterward, the star forward who grew up in Baltimore, was told that for the fourth time, prosecutors in Baltimore failed to get a conviction in the Freddie Gray case as Lt. Brian Rice was acquitted on Monday of all charges related to Gray’s arrest and death.

Freddie Gray was a 25-year old African-American who died on April 19, 2015, from injuries to his spinal cord a week after suffering them while falling into a coma as he was transported in a police van.  Anthony had marched in Baltimore shortly after Gray’s death in a protest against injustices in the city and across the nation.

“It’s just sad,” Anthony told The Undefeated. “The people there, the communities there, all they want is justice. Everybody is expecting something to come out of this. It’s just getting worse and worse.”

“I don’t think anyone has the answers. I said it before, the system is broken. It takes a lot to fix it,” Anthony, 32, said.

Anthony along with the rest of “The Brotherhood” including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul, delivered a speech together at the ESPYS, sparked by Melo’s Instagram post, which he called on “all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officers, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change.”  The four friends texted each other and came up with the plan for the speech.  The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police, ignited the feelings within the players to say something.  Anthony spoke out on stage saying, “the problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new, but the urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high.”

He explained the group’s motivation behind the strong statement.

“We were in the back saying, ‘Our time is now. Let’s step in front of the people, every athlete and the ‘Who’s Who’ that is in there,’ ” he said. “Hopefully, the message that we put out there, not just the people that were watching, but also the people that were there, that they they can feel what we were talking about.”

Anthony however is not done.  He’s making plans going forward to continue to fight against injustice.

“My next thing is to do something in L.A. when we go there. A town hall,” Anthony said. “Get guys in the community in L.A., the important people. They need to hear the community voices and vice versa whether it’s police, whether it’s politicians, whether it’s mayors, whether it’s governors, white people, black people, Mexicans, whoever. I want everybody there having voices.

“It’s about creating a plan and executing a plan and not just speaking out on this and speaking out on that. At the end of the day, talking is not going to do that anymore. We got to have action, no matter what that action is, we got to have action.”

Anthony was also saddened by the killings of police officers in Baton Rouge.  He noted that the country has to stay united and he won’t be deterred by critics who believe athletes should “stick to sports.”

“It’s too close to us,” Anthony said. “We’re human beings. Just because we are athletes, people are saying we shouldn’t be saying this and we should be saying that. We are human beings. We are affected by it. Our families are affected by it. Our local communities are affected by it.

“The Freddie Gray situation is right in my backyard. These are my people, people that I grew up with. It’s affecting me.”

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