During the 2016 ESPY Awards, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul opened up the show with a call to action. The NBA stars called for their fellow athletes to speak up and take stand in the wake of this month’s tragic killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
The conversation about police brutality and injustice carried on into Thursday night’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards where a number of athletes praised LeBron and company for giving a passionate speech, all while supporting the call to action.
Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns told HipHollywood exclusively, “For us, we have a lot of power and for people to be gathering around for something so special to their hearts just shows the unity that, in America we have no matter what race.”
Matt Barnes said, “Being a parent and role model I think it’s important because kids listen to us. Their favorite athletes, their favorite musicians, it goes a long way when we are doing the right thing and making the right movements. So I think it’s great we are using our voices in a positive manner.”
And although not an athlete, actor Kel Mitchell spoke out, revealing to us exclusively, “I think everybody is stepping up and getting out there and giving out positivity. We gotta do it with in peace, that’s what it’s all about.”
The Kids’ Choice Sports Awards airs Sunday night on Nickelodeon.
Exclusive: The Bullet Scars That Will Forever Haunt Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Son, Etienne Maurice
Sheryl Lee Ralph shared a graphic photo on Instagram earlier this week of her son, Etienne Maurice, laying in a hospital bed bandaged up from bullet wounds. The purpose of the image was to be yet another voice calling to end gun violence.
On Wednesday, students across the country walked out of class to protest against gun violence, something that hit home for Ralph four years ago. “This mother wants #gunreform now! #guncontrol now,” she wrote.
It was during a night out in West Philadelphia that Ralph’s then 22-year-old child was robbed at gunpoint and shot three times; twice in the leg and one which grazed his forehead.
So as Ralph joined Wednesday’s national conversation about gun laws, HipHollywood talked exclusively with Etienne who shared exactly what went down the night a gun could have taken his life for good.
“I was shot four years ago, November 9 … I was black out drunk. The next thing I know I remember I woke up in the hospital, doctor said I had two bullet holes in my leg and a grazed bullet hole above my eyebrow.”
Maurice, who was robbed for his iPhone and his wallet, went on to tell us that this is something that he is reminded of constantly. “Having been shot is something that I carry with me every day. I still have numbness at the bottom of my leg from the nerve damage.”
And while he will always remember how he felt knowing his life almost ended, Etienne had a hard time fathoming how his famous mother felt. “We had the conversation about it last week and she said she peed on herself,” he told us.
For Maurice, he’s proud to see young children use their voices to make change. “There’s so many angles where we can talk about gun violence and how it’s effecting different communities,” he said. “Gun reform needs to take place now.”
Since that night, he hasn’t picked up a drink and has been now sober for four years. As for the suspects, a father-son duo, they are behind bars for attempted man slaughter.
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