NBA Stars Lead Peaceful Protests Around America, Call for Change
This weekend, Jaylen Brown got into his car and drove 15 hours down to Atlanta.
For the Boston Celtics star, this was not just any road trip.
On May 25th, a video surfaced of a group of four Minnesota policemen arresting a middle-aged African Man. The 46-year old George Floyd was forced out of his car and cuffed before being forced onto the ground. The remainder of the video was incredibly difficult to watch as Officer Derek Chauvin – who has since been arrested for manslaughter and third degree murder – was seen pushing his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Jaylen Brown joined the protest in Atlanta:
— ESPN (@espn) May 30, 2020
Yet another blatant example of police brutality and racism, Floyd could be heard pleading for air, pleading the officer to remove his knee from his neck.
As bystanders begged the cop to take his knee off Floyd’s knee the other three policemen on the scene did nothing but watched as Floyd’s body soon went limp and he was pronounced dead on the scene. Floyd, a native of North Carolina and a father of two daughters, was originally being arrested for using a counterfeit $20 bill at a deli. The police stated Floyd “physically resisted” arrest although a nearby restaurant’s surveillance video suggested otherwise.
Malcolm Brogdon, Lil Yachty and Justin Anderson joined Jaylen Brown in Atlanta to protest.
Brogdon: "I got a grandfather who marched next to Dr. King in the 60's and he was amazing. He would be proud to see us all here. We have to keep pushing forward."
— ESPN (@espn) May 31, 2020
The video spread like wildfire and was met with outrage as protests – even riots – ensued all across the United States of America in the aftermath of yet another black male losing his life to police brutality and institutional racism. From North Carolina to Minnesota, from Atlanta to California, people gathered in masses amid a global pandemic that has devastated the country to call for change – a change that is so badly needed in a country who’s history is intertwined with racist oppression.
“First and foremost, I’m a black man and I’m a member of this community,” said the Celtics wingman on his Instagram who drove down to his native-Georgia to take part and lead a peaceful protest on the streets of Atlanta. “We’re raising awareness for some of the injustices that we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK.”
On Saturday, Brown was joined by Indiana Pacers star Malcolm Brogdon, an Atlanta-native who starred at the Greater Atlanta Christian HS, who gave a power and courageous statement to his fellow protestors.
“I got brothers, I got sisters, I got friends that are in the streets that are out here that haven’t made it to this level that are experiencing it, that are getting pulled over, just discrimination day after day, dealing with the same bull (expletive),” Brogdon said, speaking into a megaphone to the crowd. “This is systematic. We don’t have to burn down our homes. We built this city. This is the mostly proudly black city in the world, in the world, man. Let’s take some pride in that. Let’s focus our energy. Let’s enjoy this together. This is a moment. We have leverage right now. We have a moment in time.
— Jalen Rose (@JalenRose) May 29, 2020
“People are going to look back. Our kids are going to look back at this and say you were a part of that. I got a grandfather that marched next to Dr. King in the ‘60s. He was amazing. He would be proud to see us all here. We’ve got to keep pushing forward. Jaylen, man, has led this charge. Man, I’m proud of him. We need more leaders.”
Elsewhere in America, NBA stars joined the masses in the streets calling for justice for the death of George Floyd – calling for a change. Above all, calling for an end for institutional racism.
How many more coloured individuals must lose their lives before America changes?
Stephen Jackson along with Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie took part in protests in Minnesota on Friday afternoon. Jackson, a 14-year NBA veteran, and a man who has come to know Floyd after growing up with him in Texas gave a powerful message at the Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda.
Stephen Jackson with just about the most powerful words I’ve ever heard pic.twitter.com/7guc6O4T6W
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) May 29, 2020
“I’m here because they’re not gonna demean the character of George Floyd, my twin,” Jackson told supporters. “A lot of times, when police do things they know that’s wrong, the first thing they try to do is cover it up, and bring up their background — to make it seem like the bulls— that they did was worthy. When was murder ever worthy? But if it’s a black man, it’s approved.
“You can’t tell me, when that man has his knee on my brother’s neck — taking his life away, with his hand in his pocket — that that smirk on his face didn’t say, ‘I’m protected.’ You can’t tell me that he didn’t feel that it was his duty to murder my brother, and that he knew he was gonna get away with it. You can’t tell me that wasn’t the look on his face.”
Jordan Clarkson, Dennis Smith Jr., Tobias Harris and many other NBA stars took part in anti-racism protests this week.
The sport of basketball has provided many with a distinct platform. NBA stars have the power to speak out and create change – they are the voice of the voiceless – and in these dark times, we as a people must come together, regardless of race, religion, and culture and look out for one another.
Together, we can put an end to racism.