In the wake of the Charlottesville rally that resulted in the death of one counterprotester, many athletes – ranging from LeBron James to Curt Schilling – have spoken out, using their popular platforms to relay their messages. But perhaps no professional athlete is better suited to speak on the issue than Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon, who spent four years at the University of Virginia before graduating last year.
Brogodon was the NBA's Rookie of the Year last season, shooting 45.7 percent from the field and playing his typical stellar perimeter defense. He spoke to Sports Illustrated on Wednesday about the events in Charlottesville, and shared his perspective as someone who used to call the city home.
"I'm a person that thinks things should not be glorified that do not do the country any justice," Brogdon said. "For example, these statues, I think they stand still, but all they do is divide people. At this point in time, I think America needs to be unified and the statues are clearly something that's not unifying people. It's going to continue to create a divide within our communities. I think they have no place in our society right now.”
Brogdon went on to say it was "jarring" to see what happened in a city and on a campus that he spent four years, and he later made sure to call it "domestic terrorism." It's a term and a belief that President Donald Trump has struggled to stay consistent with, which has led more people to speak their mind concerning the events.
LeBron James tweeted: "Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!" and Steve Nash wrote on Twitter: "To defend white supremacists and then slang his shitty ass grape juice pretty much sums the man up."
Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 15, 2017
To defend white supremacists and then slang his shitty ass grape juice pretty much sums the man up— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) August 15, 2017
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who also attended UVA, told NBC10 in Philadelphia that "everybody is trying to turn this political. This isn't a political issue. This is right or wrong. I believe you're on one side or the other."
The categorical disgust for the events last weekend have been nearly universal. Noted conservative Curt Schilling, a former Red Sox World Series champion and borderline Hall of Famer was one of the few who backed Trump's comments. "He's been asked to (denounce hate groups) over and over again, and it doesn't matter what he says or how he says it," Schilling said. "The left, it's not gonna matter. They're going to use that as a talking point for as long as they ... until the next Russian conspiracy shows up."
Trump has expressed his opposition to taking down Confederate monuments, and he continues to blame both sides equally for the violence that broke out. Since then, many politicians and allies, including those in the military, have been distancing themselves from him.