Speaking Out on Gun Violence

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Standing Up to Gun Violence

Commissioner Silver Supports Players for Speaking Out on Gun Violence

Following up the actions of Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, the Atlanta Hawks and Lakers donned black T-Shirts with the message “Enough” across the chest during warmups.

Honouring the fallen victims of the horrific Thousand Oaks shooting, which left 12 people killed, NBA players have stood up to speak out on gun violence. The T-Shirt itself also had the names of all 12 victims murdered by a gunman inside a popular bar about 40 miles outside of Los Angeles.

“As I’ve always said, our players aren’t just ballplayers, they’re citizens,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, pledging his support for the players. “They have strong feelings about what’s happening in society and they react to them. I think this was something that was a groundswell within the league. It came from the players and it spread by word of mouth from one team to another.

“It obviously began here in California and other teams around the league supported them,” Silver continued. “Again, I support our players’ desire to speak out on issues that are important to them and important to society.”

LeBron James is only one of the many players to speak out on the topic, preaching the need for gun reform to keep the people of America safer.

“Probably the same that went through everybody’s mind: ‘Not again.’ Or: ‘Wow. What the hell?'” James said of what he initially thought when he heard the news of the shooting not far from where he plays and lives. “Probably some more explicit terms that I won’t say right here. It’s just how do we clean up this. … It all comes back to this gun situation that we have in America and gun violence. I don’t want to go into that right now, but I can do it at a later point. We know that these people are just being able to go and buy guns and do things with them, and innocent lives are being taken at young ages. Young ages.”

James also reflected on his times growing up in Akron, Ohio.

“You know, when I was younger we didn’t really have to worry about gun violence too much,” James said. “I mean, if you had a problem with somebody you kind of fist it out and move on. And now, it’s like people are like shooting it out and don’t even have a problem with somebody. They just got a problem with themselves or a problem with the situation that they’re in.

“It’s just very troubling times for everyone and for parents,” James continued. “It’s just how can you be comfortable with sending your kids to school or sending them to church or sending them to the movies or sending them to the mall? Those are kind of like the great havens when I was growing up: school, church, go to the mall, go to a sporting event. That was like heaven. You know? And it’s kind of scary at this point and time.”

With over a month left in the calendar year, 2018 has seen 307 mass shooting in the United States.

“It’s a national thing,” Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce said. “It’s a tough time right now with the mass shootings, specifically being here, the most recent. It’s unfortunate. It’s sad. We can talk about gun control, you can talk about how to deal with everything that’s going on, but I think really, the shirt is just trying to solidify that there’s a presence in the NBA that’s thoughtful about the people that lost their lives, and the people that were present there, and just the community in Southern California, what everybody’s going through and trying to deal with this. So I think it’s a great statement.”

Lakers head coach Luke Walton seconded the feelings of his peer, applauding NBA players for their “powerful” message.

“I think when you have kids and you’re concerned about where our world is going sometimes, it’s nice to see people trying to stand up and bring awareness to things and not just let it slide into yesterday’s news,” Walton said.

Enough is definitely enough.

As a Canadian speaking from the outside looking in – it is paramount to keep the streets of America safe.

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