SALT LAKE CITY — In the wake of protests throughout the country over “police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism”, including many NBA cities, the National Basketball Coaches Association is hoping to use its platform to create positive change.
The organization released a strongly-worded statement Monday denouncing the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the systematic racism against the African-American community.
The NBCA's statement included the signatures of 33 current and former NBA head coaches and nearly 180 assistants.
The coaches association has also formed a committee to pursue solutions to racial injustice within NBA cities. Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder is part of that committee, according to ESPN. Snyder is joined on the committee by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Peirce, among others.
“Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to the family of George Floyd,” the NBCA statement reads. “As NBA coaches — both head and assistant coaches — we lead groups of men, most of whom are African American, and we see, hear and share their feelings of disgust, frustration, helplessness and anger.
“The events of the past few weeks — police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism are shameful, inhumane and intolerable.
“As a diverse group of leaders, we have a responsibility to stand up and speak out for those who don’t have a voice — and to stand up and speak out for those who don’t feel it is safe to do so.
“Witnessing the murder of George Floyd in cold blood and in broad daylight has traumatized our nation, but the reality is that African Americans are targeted and victimized on a daily basis. As NBA coaches, we cannot treat this as an isolated incident of outrage.
“We are committed to working in our NBA cities with local leaders, officials and law enforcement agencies to create positive change in our communities. We have the power and platform to affect change, and we will use it.”
According to the ESPN report, the committee will meet Tuesday to discuss how they can begin immediate action to help create change in NBA communities.
In a memo to league staffers on Sunday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed the racial tensions in the country.
“This moment also requires greater introspection from those of us, including me, who may never know the full pain and fear many of our colleagues and players experience every day,” Silver wrote. “We have to reach out, listen to each other and work together to be part of the solution. And as an organization, we need to do everything in our power to make a meaningful difference. Even in this sad and difficult time, I know we can.”
On Sunday, Jazz owner Gail Miller issued a statement on what she called the “senseless death” of Floyd.
“It is my sincerest hope that we will all work together, peacefully and respectfully, to put an end to the mistreatment of any human being,” said Miller, the day after protests in downtown Salt Lake City left city buildings and storefronts vandalized and cars burned. “Our homes, neighborhoods, institutions and businesses are enriched and strengthened when we invite, embrace, and celebrate our rich diversity. We must hold ourselves and those around us accountable and to the highest standards of decency. We must approach each other with empathy and kindness as we continue to build collaboration and, more importantly, inclusivity and trust.”
Miller’s words echoed the speech she gave following a racially-charged interaction between a fan and an NBA star Russell Westbrook. Following that incident, the Jazz banned the offending fan for life and then investigated previous instances that ended up resulting in a second-lifetime ban. Miller then took center court at the next home game to denounce racism in the community.
“Anytime you have an incident that’s unfortunate, you hope there can be a catalyst for positive change,” Snyder said last year following the Westbrook-fan incident.
Yet another unfortunate incident has occurred. Snyder will be part of a group hoping to create positive change from it.