Representatives of NBA star Carmelo Anthony are negotiating with federal and state officials who want the Baltimore native to participate in a marketing campaign to combat the growing problem of witness intimidation.
"He definitely will be outreaching to the community. The complete details
aren't formed yet," said Jane Yin, a spokeswoman with BDA Sports Management, a
Walnut Creek, Calif.-based firm that represents the 20-year-old National
Basketball Association player.
Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, said yesterday that he is
trying to conclude talks with Anthony's agents about the Denver Nuggets
forward filming public service announcements that would be produced by the
Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Cummings is a member of the House Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human
Resources Subcommittee, which oversees the office.
He said Anthony needs to reverse the impact of his brief appearance in a
Stop Snitching DVD that was filmed while he was visiting his former West
Baltimore neighborhood. Others in the film talk about retaliating against
witnesses who cooperate with police and testify in court.
"A horrible message has been sent," said Cummings, who is urging Anthony to
appear in two spots: one on police cooperation and a second with an anti-drug
"These conversations have not been negative," Cummings said. "What I have
said is this is a way you can turn a negative into a huge positive."
Aides to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. also are trying to enlist Anthony. The
governor is proposing legislation to increase penalties for witness
intimidation and allow testimony in court from witnesses who cooperated
previously but did not or could not appear in person.
Anthony is one of several prominent spokespeople being sought to help win
support, Ehrlich said yesterday.
"We're trying anything we can to get the message out, and to the extent we
can get somebody with credibility, we will," the governor said.
Alan Friedman, director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and
Prevention, said the NBA season has complicated the timing of Anthony's
"The problem right now is the scheduling," Friedman said.
Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey, another proponent of
anti-intimidation legislation, said Anthony's stature would help focus
attention on a pressing need.
"He is a megaphone we wouldn't have normally," Ivey said. "He is going to
be able to reach guys who have zero interest in listening to prosecutors."
Yin, the agents' spokeswoman, said Anthony's participation in commercials
or other events would not be precipitated by fallout from the DVD. "This is
something he had planned to do regardless," she said.
Anthony's interest in an anti-violence campaign was first reported
yesterday by The Washington Post, which quoted him as saying "I would never
support anybody harming anyone. ... I just want to help."
Sun staff writers Ivan Penn and Andrew A. Green contributed to this
Correction: An article yesterday incorrectly stated Alan R. Friedman's title. He is a policy adviser for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.