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James Blake: Black Lives Matter is 'long overdue'

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james blake black lives matter harlow intv newday_00000000

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Story highlights

  • The former professional tennis player says he supports Black Lives Matter
  • New York's police commissioner apologized to him last year after an officer used excessive force and tackled him to the ground

(CNN)James Blake, a former professional tennis player who made headlines last year when New York police tackled him to the ground, is speaking out in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"It's long overdue," he said Monday on CNN's "New Day."
    Though he is not directly involved with the movement, he calls himself "a supporter from afar." He said the recent protests over the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling are "a positive step."
    Blake is less enthusiastic about former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who called the movement "inherently racist."
    "It's just shocking that someone that's ever held public office or that's gotten anywhere he has gotten in his life can have that kind of view on it," he says.
    Giuliani: Black Lives Matter is racist
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    Blake's firsthand understanding of the meaning behind the movement does not just come from last year's case. A board investigating that incident determined that police used excessive force.
    As a young athlete, he says he was pulled over far more than his white friends. His parents received death threats as he became successful on the tennis tour.
    Moving forward, Blake calls for better training and accountability for police officers.
    "There shouldn't be a way of shielding them because they're police officers," he said. "They're still human beings, and if they commit a crime, they still need to be held accountable."