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Curry writes: "One thing that I've been thinking about a lot lately, especially today on Veterans Day, is what it means to have a platform."


"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." (photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


The Noise

By Stephen Curry, The Players' Tribune

13 November 17

 

ne thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, especially today on Veterans Day, is what it means to have a platform.

I guess it’s tempting, sometimes, to think that it doesn’t mean anything. With everyone out there on Twitter, and Facebook, and IG and all of that … with all of the opinions and narratives that are always flying every which way on cable news … it’s a lot of noise. And you hear enough of that noise, and you kind of start to wonder if anyone can — or even wants to — hear anyone else at all.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that all of that noise we keep hearing — it’s not an accident. We’re hearing that noise 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’m a person who is comfortable in his own skin. I’m 29 now. I’ve got two daughters, a wonderful wife, two amazing parents. I’ve been all over this country, from Charlotte to the Bay. And I feel confident in the fact that I’ve developed a foundation for my character that I can be proud of. 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. One of the beliefs that I hold most dear is how proud I am to be an American — and how incredibly thankful I am for our troops. I know how fortunate I am to live in this country, and to do what I do for a living, and to raise my daughters in peace and prosperity. But I also hear from plenty of people who don’t have it nearly as good as I do. Plenty of people who are genuinely struggling in this country. Especially our veterans.

And 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 even if they don’t totally agree with every position of every person, 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.

One of the most rewarding conversations that I’ve had this year was with a veteran — it was just the other night, actually. My wife, Ayesha, held the opening for her restaurant, and we all came out to eat dinner there and support her. And one of the guests who came in that night was a man named Michael, who was there with his wife. He came up and introduced himself, and we just got to talking.

He happened to have served in Afghanistan — and he told me about how much he had been through, both physically and mentally, just in trying to transition back into society, and into his daily life. He offered some advice to me, about how I could help to raise awareness about some of the serious issues that veterans are going through — for example, with the Veterans Affairs medical system, and how its administration is broken. And he educated me on demographics — telling me about how less than 1% of the population today serves in the military, which makes it a real struggle for veterans, as a political constituency, to get the representation that they need.

How come those issues never seem to be a trending topic?

We hear all the time on TV and social media about “supporting our troops.” 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.

At almost every turn our conversation took, Michael found some common ground: from talking about how he’s a Warriors fan (good, good, I like it), to — way more importantly — pointing out how most of the issues that military vets face at home are actually the same as the issues faced by a lot of America. Homelessness, unemployment, mental health and, yes, racial inequality — those are the issues that our vets are facing. These are mostly universal issues, which are being felt in every town in America.

And as Veterans Day has been approaching this week, and as I’ve been thinking more and more about what using my platform really means to me — my conversation with Michael is something that I’ve kept coming back to.

You know, I remember when I woke up on the morning that (I still can’t believe I’m saying these words) the President tweeted at me. You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but, man, it was … surreal. It was the morning before our first day of practice, so I was getting in a good sleep. And when I woke up — I mean before I even saw the tweet, or knew what was going on — I had about 30 text messages, all at once. Just blowing up my phone. They were all these friends of mine, just, like, defending me, and telling me that I was right, and, you know, not to worry about it. But I had no idea what they were even talking about.

Then finally I brought up Twitter, checked on my mentions and all of that — and I saw it.

It was what it was.

And now, of course, it’s those same people — who couldn’t understand why I would peacefully state my opposition to our White House visit — who will tell you that pro athletes, when they engage in peaceful protest, are disrespecting the military, our flag and our country.

Which I guess is why I decided that I wanted to write this, now.

Because if I’m going to use my platform … I don’t want to just be noise. I want to use it to talk about real issues, that are affecting real people. I want to use it to shine a spotlight on the things that I care about.

And I care about our veterans deeply.

So that’s why I’m writing this — that’s my plea to y’all for this Veterans Day: Let’s please not get lost in another one of these endless debates about who means what when they’re doing what, or who is disrespecting whom.

Instead, 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 VA medical system, and traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD. But let’s also talk about homelessness, and unemployment, and mental health, and, yes, racial inequality.

Let’s talk about how we can do better, to make their lives easier.

Let’s use our platforms, and take this day, to talk about how we can be louder than all of this silence — and quieter than all of this noise.


e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

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+22 # Working Class 2017-11-13 10:54
Thanks Stephen for your call for a common sense approach. The sad situation we face today with our political leadership, both at the top and in Congress, is that too few efforts are being made to solve the problems faced by everyday people. Instead the attention seems to go to those who can afford large political donations. I know this has been the case for many, many years and thus is nothing new. What is new is in today's world the average person can communicate via media that never existed before. This opens the opportunity for grass roots organizing through social media. But if we stop at just defining problems we will not make progress. As you know, to score you must take the court and participate to your fullest extent. Democracy is not a spectator sport.
 
 
+18 # grandlakeguy 2017-11-13 11:38
Thank you Stephen Curry...all of us at the Grand Lake Theater are proud that you have joined the fight to speak out against the abuses of the American people by our "elected" representatives!

Our First Amendment freedom of speech is something that must always be exercised by all Americans of conscience.
 
 
+12 # PABLO DIABLO 2017-11-13 11:42
THANK YOU.
 
 
+20 # Johnny 2017-11-13 11:43
Our soldiers need our support before they become veterans, their lives ruined by the post traumatic stress they suffer from having gunned down women and children in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Vietnam... in no way defending any interest of the United States, but only the deep-state-indu strial-neoconse rvative gangsters who have hijacked our country.
 
 
+3 # bardphile 2017-11-13 11:47
A swish from half court!
 
 
+21 # btraven 2017-11-13 12:16
Beautiful statement Steph.I'm a WW II veteran and I feel great sorrow for veterans of these recent illegal wars we have been involved in for fifteen years. We must stop making more war veterans and spend the money on education our citizens for peace.
 
 
+16 # Elroys 2017-11-13 12:40
Excellent post, Steph - and here's to another stellar season for the Warriors.
A few added thoughts in support of Vets. First, those who scream the loudest - like Trump and many of his repub cronies are the first to find their way out of the wars they fully support as "Americans." I'd call that hypocrisy of the 1st order. Let's be real about the last 50 years of wars - mostly about oil, resources and domination by the U.S. military-indust rial complex. It's about war profiteering - guns and missiles are far more profitable than butter and education. This is mainly about extraordinary greed and cowardice. Notice how many sons / daughter of our political "leaders" go to war. Now, instead of giving our veterans what they really need - as Michael told you - our "brave" Republicans in Congress and our really "brave" pile of dung at the top - old Donald Trump - is giving their wealthy friends - vast majority never in a uniform other than their corporate uniforms - a huge tax cut. These people are disgusting humans and need to be called out for their corrupt ideology and vast greed and lies. Forget the vets, forget the children and elderly, and those less fortunate. Steve "Foreclosure King" Mnuchin and his incredibly vapid wife and cronies will add to their fortunes with their tax cuts and lies.
If it takes people like Steph, Colin and Kareem, and all athletes, stars of all kinds - to get people to pay attention, so be it. We're with you.
Trump must be fired.
 
 
+15 # REDPILLED 2017-11-13 12:42
Thank you, Stephen Curry, for using your celebrity platform to talk about important issues such as homelessness and veterans' care. Every veteran, especially those injured in our many wars, and the families of those killed in those wars, MUST get the care they need.

But let's stop pretending that any U.S. war fought after 1945 had anything to do with 'saving our democracy' or 'preserving our freedom'.

These wars since 1945 were unnecessary, illegal wars of aggression in service to U.S. capitalism and its violent, killing greed.

That is why I cannot say, "Thank you for your service" to any veteran who served after 1945. They have all been conned and duped since then to believe the Great Lie that 'the U.S. stands for freedom and democracy', a lie that is not only cruel, brutal, and murderous, but that is disproven by history since 1945.

Stop the pretense and the bloody myth. Start opposing these wars of plunder and aggression for corporate greed.
 
 
+14 # chrisconno 2017-11-13 13:05
Thank you for this. I totally support the pros protesting the inequities in our country and I totally support Veterans benefits, what ever those are. I do feel that the corporates who's interests our military is protecting should be supplying the lion's share of veterans' care and that veterans should be getting the best care available. But I also feel our military should not just be going to war to invade countries whose resources we covet. I believe it is a complete abuse of the concept of freedom to keep selling our invasions as protecting our freedoms. i do not feel that it is warranted to suggest that the freedom to invade any country to steal their resources is a freedom our military personal should be dying for. We have lost sight of the true light of freedom.
 
 
+9 # DongiC 2017-11-13 13:57
Well said, Stephen, well said. I, too, support your position in avoiding that White House meeting.
 
 
+4 # bobsandyd 2017-11-13 14:00
Right On!
 
 
+13 # palaherb@gmail.com 2017-11-13 14:57
Stephen,

A phenomenally great statement!! Now, let us work on getting more pro athletes [they have a platform] to stand up and speak out -- along with all the rest of us.

Peace,
Herb [Korean War Veteran]
 
 
+10 # CDMR 2017-11-13 15:21
Masrerful! Stephen Curry nails it. We are being manipulated by the major media and he cuts right through the lies.
 
 
+17 # dusty 2017-11-13 15:30
Can only say, YES. I worked in a VA hospital during Viet Nam and know from that experience that we need to do more. One thing that is imperative is to work for peace and negotiation between nations, too. Warfare creates victims on the ground on both sides and later as people injured psychologically as well as physically then and now. War solves nothing, it creates more war.
 

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