SALT LAKE CITY — Following his team's 112-100 loss to the Knicks in New York on Wednesday, Utah coach Quin Snyder pointed to a problem that has plagued the Jazz this season: a lack of focus.
On Wednesday, at least, they had a decent reason for having their minds elsewhere. The events in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday afternoon when protesters stormed the Capitol building were heavy on the minds of the Jazz as they prepared to play.
Jordan Clarkson said it was "wild" and compared it to watching a movie. Mike Conley said that it made him scared for his children and their future. It was an alarming scene — one that left four dead (one woman shot while entering the Capitol and three who died from medical emergencies) — that no one expected to see in their lifetime.
"Certainly our awareness and our emotions and all of our feelings do make it hard to concentrate," Snyder said. "I think that's obvious and completely to be expected and natural."
It was also natural for them to see how those protesters were treated — being able to walk away after forcing their way into the nation's Capitol building on their own accord and not by the police — and not see a difference to how the Black lives matter protests were treated in the summer.
"Everybody spoke out about it today ... they seen the difference, they seen what those people have done today and there were no consequences for them at all," Clarkson said.
Clarkson participated in marches and rallies for police reform after George Floyd was killed while in police custody last May in Minneapolis. He couldn't help but think of how things would have been handled differently if a group of Black protesters had converged on the Capitol.
"It would have been a different story, I feel like," Clarkson said. "It would have ended in multiple deaths, arrest, anything. Just kind of a crazy situation that is just mind-blowing. Something needs to change. I've seen teams kneel just trying to get the message out. It's just another wild situation that is just showing the difference. That's just plain and simple."
Outside of the apparent double-standard, the players saw it as an attack on the country. On their country.
"It's disgusting in so many different ways. I think for a lot of us, viewing it, it's sad," Conley said. "This is our country. We take pride in our country and our people and to see something like that take place, I never in my lifetime thought I would see that. That kind of act."
It was an act that made Conley think of his kids — all while trying to hope for a better future. But the images of Wednesday made hope hard to come by.
"I want to push out hope. I want everybody to be hopeful that things will be better, but there are still people out there that will behave this way," Conley said. "And it's unfortunate to see that happen."