Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Noah Undeterred by Fallout at Camp

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Noah Undeterred by Fallout at Camp

Article excerpt

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- As the Knicks were leaving Christl Arena at the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday afternoon, the four-day minicamp concluded, Carmelo Anthony was the last one out of the locker room and he was wearing a black Army baseball cap.

Was this a fashion statement to make a point as the Knicks find themselves in the midst of a controversy pitting the anti-war stance of Joakim Noah against the criticism from the academy? Not quite.

"No, no, no," Anthony said. "I've been wearing this all week. It was free. They gave us gifts. We give them gifts, they give us gifts, we wear them. It started raining so I needed something."

It was a light moment in what had been a tense 24 hours for the team. Noah spoke thoughtfully and eloquently Friday afternoon about his beliefs, a long-held stance against war and violence, explaining why he had skipped a team dinner with the cadets and a speech from a retired colonel.

The Knicks then went into damage-control mode, tweeting out photos later Friday of Noah speaking with cadets, as West Point issued a statement denouncing Noah's choice of a venue for his protest. Noah stood by his beliefs Saturday after the fallout.

"It has nothing to do with the cadets," Noah said. "I have a lot of respect for the troops and the sacrifice that they bring for this country. It's just hard for me to see kids killing kids. It's my views. But it was cool just to be able to spend a little time with them, talk to them and just -- they have a huge responsibility -- to be able to talk to them about that."

While the Knicks' organization may have cringed at the dispute, having conducted the minicamp here for a third straight season, Noah's teammates defended him for holding to his beliefs. Anthony has found himself in similar debates, having been one of the first athletes to take a public stand against violence among the nation's youth, particularly by and against the police.

"That's him and I respect him for it," Derrick Rose said of Noah, who was his teammate in Chicago the last seven years. "That's the last thing he wants is to make a certain group feel a certain way. But that's who he is. Like his heart, and how careful he is and how thoughtful he is about people.

"I just don't want people to paint an image of him who he's not. He's a caring guy, a loving guy, and the last thing he wants is the attention that's coming to him from everywhere about him about anti. And that's something he's not. But of course people are going to run with it and make their own stories, but the people on this team and everybody on this staff, everybody knows his heart and that's the only thing he cares about."

"We're supposed to play basketball and shut up, or play football and shut up," Anthony said. "That's what we're supposed to do. …

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