Steph Curry: In 2017, in America, silence is no longer an option
Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry says "silence is not an option" as controversy continues to surround protests by sportsmen over inequality in the United States.
Since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting or kneeling for the national anthem ahead of NFL games last season, in protest at perceived racial injustice, the movement has spread throughout the league and beyond.
President Donald Trump has been one of the most outspoken critics, leading two-time NBA MVP Curry to say ahead of the new season that he would not want to attend the traditional champions' visit to the White House under the current administration. The invitation was promptly withdrawn by Trump.
In a column for The Players' Tribune ahead of the American national holiday Veterans Day, Curry wrote: "All of that noise we keep hearing (is) because there are real people out there, facing real issues and real inequalities, some in ways like never before.
"In 2017, in America, silence is no longer an option.
"I know what I believe in, and I know what I stand for. And I know what I stand against.
"But when someone tells me that my stances, or athlete stances in general, are 'disrespecting the military' - which has become a popular thing to accuse peaceful protestors of - it's something that I'm going to take very, very seriously.
"Every single veteran I've spoken to, they've all said pretty much the exact same thing: That this conversation we've started to have in the world of sports ... whether it's been Colin kneeling, or entire NFL teams finding their own ways to show unity, or me saying that I didn't want to go to the White House - it's the opposite of disrespectful to them.
"A lot of them have said that this is exactly the thing that they fought to preserve: the freedom of every American to express our struggles, our fears, our frustrations, and our dreams for a more equal society."
Curry recalled a recent conversation with a military veteran named Michael, who served in Afghanistan, as he called for meaningful support for the armed forces.
"We hear all the time on TV and social media about 'supporting our troops'," the point guard wrote. "But it's not just about saluting them or thanking them for their service at the airport - and it's definitely not just about how we observe the national anthem.
"Michael told me that our veterans need real action. They need real help with medical services, and access to jobs, and readjusting to society.
"Let's respect - let's celebrate - our veterans, by having a conversation about the actual ways that we as civilians, as their fellow Americans they've fought to protect, can hold up our end of the bargain.
"Let's talk about the broken (Veterans Affairs) medical system, and traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD. But let's also talk about homelessness, and unemployment, and mental health, and, yes, racial inequality."
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