Morning Coffee – Mon, Jun 1

28 mins read

Masai weighs in.

Opinion: Masai Ujiri: To overcome racism, we must raise our voices – The Globe and Mail

“The video was sent to me without explanation. Watching it, I was confused: What is this? At first, I thought it was from years ago and someone was sharing it to make a point. After all, there have been a lot of conversations recently focusing on interactions that ended with the violent deaths of black men.

I watched it again, and again, before I understood. This was new. It was a police officer choosing to place his knee on the neck of a black man until he was bleeding from his nose, and he lost control of his bladder, and then he died. It began right there on the street in Minneapolis, as people pleaded for his life and he asked for his mother. That man’s name was George Floyd, and he was 46. I know all that now.

But that morning, staring at my phone, I couldn’t understand how this could be. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that we were mourning the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was shot as he was jogging in Georgia? That we were shocked Breonna Taylor could be killed in her own home in Louisville, Ky.? The list grows, and things don’t change.

Ever since I first saw the video, I’ve been thinking about the cycle. A death like this happens, and we rage about it, and the headlines recede, and the world moves on, and then a few weeks later something else happens and we’re outraged again and then we move on, again. We have to stop that cycle.

No one can deny the police have a tough job. But they are peace officers. They are supposed to protect all of us. This is the profession they chose. I didn’t see any peace or protection when that officer had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. I saw indifference. The “order” in “law and order” should not mean the deadly suppression of people of colour; it should mean preserving a society so we can all feel free and safe, to live in peace with each other.

We all came into this world the same way – as humans. No one is born to be racist and none of us sees colour at first. I believe there are far more good people than bad people, but sometimes the good must do more than simply be good. They must overwhelm the bad.”

Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided – CityNews Toronto

“A death like this happens, and we rage about it, and the headlines recede, and the world moves on, and then a few weeks later something else happens and we’re outraged again and then we move on, again. We have to stop that cycle,” Ujiri said in the column.

“So many of you are asking: What can I do? There is a sense of helplessness, but that must not paralyze us,” he added. “Your voice matters, especially when you are a leader or influential figure, and especially if you are white. Leaders have to be bold enough to state the obvious and call out racism.”

“The conversation can no longer be avoided because it is hard. We have to have it. Now.”

This week thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States.

Officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Ujiri said “police have a tough job. But … they are supposed to protect all of us.

“I didn’t see any peace or protection when that officer had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. I saw indifference,” Ujiri wrote. “The ‘order’ in ‘law and order’ should not mean the deadly suppression of people of colour; it should mean preserving a society so we can all feel free and safe, to live in peace with each other.”

Kyle Dubas, the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, tweeted Ujiri’s column. The Leafs would follow with a statement of their own.

“All of our collective hearts were broken as we watched the senseless murder of George Floyd, as well as the pain and frustration displayed in protests that followed across the globe.

“Together, we need to do more to not only speak out against racism when we witness it, but commit ourselves to anti-racist efforts in the long run to ensure its defeat once and for all.”

Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests have prompted many sports figures – including athletes, coaches and league officials – to speak out in recent days.

Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler, a Minnesota native, posted a letter on his Twitter account Saturday night saying “America is not OK.”

“Growing up outside Minneapolis, I always felt sheltered from racism. That’s because I was,” Wheeler said in the post. “Most people I grew up with looked like me. I never had to be scared when I stopped at a traffic light or saw the police in public. My kids will never know that fear either.

Op-Ed: Monty Williams is ‘angry,’ ‘afraid’ and ‘in pain’ today – The Athletic

I’m distraught as I look at my boys — two are African American and one is Caucasian — because too many people see them differently. None of them should have to think about how law enforcement will treat them if pulled over for rolling through a stop sign. None of them should be followed through a department store by security. None of them should feel the sweat rolling down their back when a cop follows them for blocks. Alas, their worlds are different, and something is wrong with that.

Don’t misread me. I have as much respect for most law enforcement as I do disdain for some of the would-be protesters.

To those who have sworn to protect and serve ALL people regardless of color, religion or sexual orientation, I say thank you. We have an institutional problem with pervasive racism. It must end now.

To those who are using the façade of a protest or march by choosing to destroy and tear down, I challenge you to be better. As I tell my players, I’m not calling you out, I’m calling you up. Destruction of property and life is NOT the answer.

It IS time to raze the institutional foundations of racism and segregation within politics, law enforcement and society at large. It must happen NOW.

Borrowing from C.S. Lewis, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

In internal memo, NBA’s Adam Silver says racism, police brutality ‘cannot be ignored’

NBA commissioner Adam Silver sent an internal memo to NBA office employees on Sunday, offering thoughts of frustration and sadness after watching the protests around the country over the weekend.

Silver, in a memo obtained by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, said his league shares “the outrage” and offered “sincere condolences to families and friends” of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.


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Floyd, who is black, died Monday after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for several minutes. Floyd’s death has shaken the Minneapolis community and sparked protests in cities across the United States. Chauvin was arrested Friday afternoon and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, local authorities announced.

“We are being reminded that there are wounds in our country that have never healed,” Silver said. “Racism, police brutality and racial injustice remain part of everyday life in America and cannot be ignored.”

Many NBA players took part in peaceful protests around the country, with some traveling great distances to do so. Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown led a peaceful march through Atlanta on Saturday night after driving 15 hours from Massachusetts to do so. Atlanta is about a 20-minute drive southeast of Brown’s native Marietta, Georgia.

Heat’s Udonis Haslem eager to help community, police work ‘together’

Haslem, who said he has multiple family members who work for the Miami Police Department, said protesters should consider that many in law enforcement strive to help the areas in which they serve.

“There definitely has to be justice for George [Floyd]; there definitely has to be protests for what happened to George. But I’d be lying if I said that it’s been going about the right way,” Haslem said at a news conference held by Miami police. “I’d be lying if I said that I’m proud of what’s really been going on. I have an obligation to this community, because this community has done so much for me. But I also have an obligation to the police department, as well. So many of my family members come here every day. They work, they take care of people, they make sure people are safe, so there’s got to be a better way. I stand here right now confused, torn, frustrated.

“I just want to be a part of the solution. We have to have a plan moving forward. It has to be together.”

“They were terrible people before they put that badge on, man. For you to stand there and watch that, it’s got nothing to do with your badge, it’s got nothing to do with your color, it has nothing to do with your race; it’s something inside you that’s messed up,” Haslem said of the officers involved in Floyd’s death. “It’s your soul that ain’t right.”

Haslem has played all 17 of his NBA seasons with the Heat. This season, Haslem has appeared in only three games, and he alluded to that on Sunday.

“Just because I don’t get the minutes that I used to get don’t mean that I’m going to fade away and you’re not going to see me or hear from me. I’m going to figure out a way to master the role that I have. The role that I have now is to be a leader,” Haslem said. “People say people are born leaders. I couldn’t have [been] born for this. I would have never seen this coming. But I’m here now. It’s my responsibility to do something.”

America Is Raging. Listen to What’s Being Said. – WSJ

“Fifty-four years later, my son is now 8-years-old and I look at the world he is growing up in and wonder, how much has really changed?” Dwane Casey, head coach, Detroit Pistons.

“Just because it isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening at all,” Naomi Osaka, tennis player.

“I feel like sitting back and being quiet, that’s literally going to solve nothing, so at least get a conversation going. Even if you don’t want to do it publicly, that’s fine, that’s not your venue. But at the same time, you can maybe take what I said and talk about it individually. Even if you disagree with me, why do you disagree? That’s fine if you don’t agree, but at the same time, why don’t you think that those viewpoints are valid?” Brianna Turner, WNBA player.

“There are no more cheeks to turn,” Jaylen Brown, NBA player.

“Many people who broadcast their opinions on [Colin Kaepernick] kneeling or on the hiring of minorities [to NFL senior positions] don’t seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women. I think many of them quietly say that watching George Floyd plead for help is one of the more horrible things they have seen, but it’s said amongst themselves where no one can hear. Broadcasting that opinion clearly is not important enough,” Brian Flores, head coach, Miami Dolphins.

“We need people who aren’t black, we need people who aren’t brown. When you know these things are happening in your society…have a voice, a legitimate one, lock and step with us, protest with us, post with us, not just when it’s convenient, when it can be uncomfortable,” Jalen Rose, retired NBA player ESPN analyst.

Athletes Invoke Colin Kaepernick in Response to George Floyd Protests – The New York Times

The owners of the Brooklyn Nets, whose arena, the Barclays Center, has been at the center of protests in New York, vowed to use their platform as a sports team to push back on racial prejudice.

“Today, we stand up and speak up against all forms of racism — overt or subconscious — especially against the Black community,” the team said. “We want to say ‘Enough is Enough.’”

The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team urged a diversity of voices to call out social injustice and police brutality.

“For those who are not black, silence is the biggest betrayal right now,’’ the statement said. “The hardest part is watching friends who are not of color not even question what is happening right now. It’s time for us to start preaching togetherness, justice, and love amongst one another.”

Doc Rivers, the coach of the N.B.A.’s Los Angeles Clippers, recalled racial abuse he had experienced and urged society to have a conversation around race however uncomfortable it might be.

“My father was a 30-year veteran of the Chicago police department, and if he were still with us right now, he’d be hurt and outraged by the senseless acts of racial injustice that continue to plague our country,” Rivers said. “Being black in America is tough. I’ve personally been called more racial slurs than I can count, been pulled over many times because of the color of my skin, and even had my home burned down.”

NBA: Spurs’ Walker helps clean damage in San Antonio | ABS-CBN News

Walker spent about two hours handing out bottled water and helping clean graffiti off buildings.

“You all have a reason to be nice. It’s common courtesy, being a human. Helping out the best you can,” Walker said in a video posted on Instagram.

Walker is seen during the video interacting with dozens of people while volunteering, keeping a positive approach as he mingled with citizens, some of whom recognized that he was an NBA player.

“You have to take the good with the bad,” Walker said. “Everything that happened last night — on the positive end, we had a lot of people protesting. On the negative end, a lot of things got destroyed.”

Michael Jordan says he is ‘deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry’ about George Floyd’s death – CNN

Basketball legend Michael Jordan on Sunday sent his condolences to the family of George Floyd and shared his support for protesters fighting for justice.

“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration,” Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets, said in his statement, which was posted on the Jordan brand’s social media accounts as well as the Hornets’ Twitter account.

His statement comes amid nationwide protests sparked by the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man who died last week at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Former police officer Derek Chauvin was fired after video footage showed him with his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds in total. He was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
“We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality,” Jordan, 57, said. “We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability.”
Jordan said he believes everyone needs to work together to “ensure justice for all.”

“Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change.”

George Floyd: Footage emerges of NBA title winner J.R. Smith beating up man during LA protests |

Shocking vision has emerged of an NBA title winner beating up a man in Los Angeles during the protests over the death of George Floyd.

The video, published by TMZ, shows 15-year NBA veteran J.R. Smith kicking and punching a man on a residential street.

The former NBA champion has since taken to social media to explain the incident, saying the man had broken his car window during the L.A. protests.

Smith said the attack was in no way racially motivated.

“One of these motherfu***ing white boys didn’t know where he was going and broke my f***ing window in my truck,” Smith said.

“Broke my s***. This is a residential area, no stores over here non of that s***.

Floyd’s death opens old wounds for NBA’s Sefolosha | Inquirer Sports

“I was just horrified by what I saw,” Sefolosha said. “That could have been me.”

Time has not healed all wounds for Sefolosha, the NBA veteran who said he was attacked by a group of New York Police Department officers in April 2015 while they were arresting him outside a nightclub in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood.

The leg that was broken in the fracas is fine now. The emotional pain returned last week when he saw video of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air in the final moments of his life as a white police officer — subsequently charged with murder — pressed a knee on his neck.

Sefolosha has not watched much news since. His experience with police in New York has left him with a deep distrust of law enforcement, the pangs of angst flooding back even when he walks into NBA arenas and sees uniformed officers. And the latest example of police brutality left him even more upset.

“People talk about a few rotten apples,” Sefolosha said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But you know, in my experience and from what we’re seeing, I think it’s deeper than that as a culture that’s deeply rooted in it, to be honest. That’s just my honest opinion. I think it’s really … part of a culture where it’s deeper than just a few bad apples.”

The four officers who were involved in the incident where Floyd died were fired; the one who knelt on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Massive protests have broken out in several cities in recent days.

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar defends protests and says racism is deadlier than COVID-19 in powerful op-ed |

“African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.

Those who criticize the looting and fires, saying that those actions are hurting the protesters’ cause aren’t wrong, but they’re not right, either, the former Lakers star said.

“The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness — write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change — the needle hardly budges …

“So, maybe the black community’s main concern right now isn’t whether protesters are standing three or six feet apart or whether a few desperate souls steal some T-shirts or even set a police station on fire, but whether their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers will be murdered by cops or wannabe cops just for going on a walk, a jog, a drive. Or whether being black means sheltering at home for the rest of their lives because the racism virus infecting the country is more deadly than COVID-19,” he wrote.

Pointing to the disproportionate rate at which African Americans are dying from Covid-19 compared to whites and President Trump’s recent tweet saying, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Abdul-Jabbar said that black protesters represent a community “pushed to the edge, not because they want bars and nail salons open, but because they want to live. To breathe.”

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