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Adam Silver, NBA teams express outrage after George Floyd's death

Commissioner Silver: We cannot ignore racism, police brutality and racial injustice

The NBA, its teams, coaches, players and executives are outraged by the violence that led to the death of George Floyd and countless other African Americans.

League commissioner Adam Silver stated the following as part of an internal memo: “I spent the weekend watching the protests around the country over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. As a league, we share the outrage and offer our sincere condolences to their families and friends. Just as we are fighting a pandemic, which is impacting communities and people of color more than anyone else, we are being reminded that there are wounds in our country that have never healed.

“Racism, police brutality and racial injustice remain part of everyday life in America and cannot be ignored. At the same time, those who serve and protect our communities honorably and heroically are again left to answer for those who don’t.”

On June 1, the National Basketball Coaches Association issued a statement in which they called the events of the past few weeks “shameful, inhumane and intolerable.”

“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,” the NBCA said in its statement. “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.”

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was handcuffed and unarmed as a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes despite several pleas that he could not breathe.

Here’s what’s being said — and done — within the NBA community.

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Atlanta Hawks

From principal owner Tony Ressler

“This is a time when all of us need to focus on this critical and all too pervasive human issue – systemic racism. To be as blunt as possible on this topic of dignity, decency and progress, I emphatically believe that you are either part of the solution or you are the problem. Black lives matter. There is no in-between. We, as an organization and part of the Atlanta community, are determined to be a part of the solution.” (Full statement)

Boston Celtics

From the organization

“Like many others across the country, the heartbreaking and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, along with other recent events, have left the entire Celtics organization struggling with grief and anger. During a time in which the phrase ‘new normal’ has often been used as our nation has struggled with the devastation of a pandemic, we imagine and hope for a ‘new normal’ where every citizen is afforded the same rights, has the same opportunities, receives the same treatment, and can peacefully enjoy every freedom promised to all of us.” (Full statement) 

Brooklyn Nets

From the organization

“Not all of us can ever be in a position to experience the personal pain, fear and despair of Black Americans in light of the events. But our instinct tells us that the lack of respect for human life, fueled by prejudice, is simply wrong. All people, regardless of color, race or ethnicity, deserve to be treated with human dignity and protected from violence. Our hearts are broken by the attacks on the personal safety and dignity of the Black community.” (Full statement)

Charlotte Hornets

From team owner Michael Jordan

“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.” (Full statement)

Chicago Bulls

From president of team charities Nancy Reinsdorf and president and COO Michael Reinsdorf

“There is a crisis in our country, and we need to redouble our efforts and work harder than ever. We have to rise above our differences and come together to affect real change for the future; otherwise we’re going to see the past repeat itself again. We have to listen to each other, act with love and be intentional and relentless in our pursuit of a better world. It is time.” (Full statement)

Cleveland Cavaliers

From Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman and coach J.B. Bickerstaff

“This is not the first time that we have had to stand together in an attempt to impact change, but this could be the first time we actually “DO” create change for all of humanity. In the face of desired change, we cannot treat this as an isolated incident of outrage, but one that we remain consistently engaged with and one where we focus our energy toward sustainable accountability.” (Full statement)

Dallas Mavericks

From the organization

“We will NOT stand for injustice, inequity, and disparity. History goes through phases. Phases in Restoring (justice), Rebuilding (communities) and Rebounding (as people).”

Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber shared thoughts via his Instagram story on Sunday: “Racism, discrimination and injustice because of skin color, religion, or other attributes is never acceptable. We are all humans and should work together, to make the world a better place. It’s on us, to educate ourselves and the people around us, to build trust, understanding and a more peaceful world.”

Denver Nuggets

From the organization

“Our nation is in mourning and in pain as we continue to struggle with the persistent legacy of racism and racial inequality. So often, sports have played a critical role in binding and integrating societies. During some of America’s darkest days, sports have provided a source of light. From Jesse Owens to Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali, selfless and courageous athletes have opened our hearts, eyes and minds. Embracing diversity and accommodating difference to create a symphonic whole, marks a core virtue of any team.” (Full statement)

Detroit Pistons

From coach Dwane Casey

“Fifty-four years ago I was an eight-year-old boy living in rural Kentucky when the schools were desegregated. I walked into a white school where I was not wanted nor welcomed. At that time there were no cell phones to record my treatment, no cable news stations with 24/7 coverage, no social media to record the reality of the situation or offer support nor condemnation. But I can remember exactly how I felt as an eight-year-old child. I felt helpless. I felt as if I was neither seen, nor heard, nor understood. As I have watched the events unfold in the days following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a city where I coached and once called home, I see how many people continue to feel those same feelings – helpless, frustrated, invisible, angry.” (Full statement)

From the organization

The protests that have unfolded across our country over the last week and the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor shine a piercing light on issues of racism, police brutality and inequitable justice that continue to divide our country. As an organization, we condemn those things. But words aren’t enough. The call to action is loud and clear and our organization is committed with a high sense of urgency to helping facilitate not only healing, but change.” (Full statement)

Golden State Warriors

From the organization

“We condemn, in no uncertain terms, racism and violence perpetrated against members of the Black community, and we call on all people to channel their justifiable anger into creating a more just and equitable society.”

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson joined several of their teammates Wednesday in a peaceful march along Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Warriors swingman Juan Toscano-Anderson organized the ‘Walking in Unity’ event, which drew several hundred marchers. Kevon Looney and Damion Lee also participated.

Houston Rockets

From the organization

“We mourn for and are angered by the senseless death of George Floyd, a man raised in Houston’s Third Ward. Inexcusably, our Black community continues to be subject to racism, bigotry, prejudice and fear. This must end. All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We condemn violence in all its forms. As an organization, we are committed to working with our players, coaches, employees and community leaders to affect meaningful and lasting change.”

Indiana Pacers

From the organization

“Tragic events in the Black community leave us with a shared sense of sadness and moral outrage. We condemn racism and we fully support those peacefully coming forward in the names of justice and change. Our city and our state are strong and resilient, and we must listen to and respect each other.”

Malcolm Brogdon also joined Jaylen Brown in peaceful protests held in Atlanta.

LA Clippers

From coach Doc Rivers

“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. 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. The response we are seeing across the nation, to the murder of George Floyd, is decades in the making. Too often, people rush to judge the response, instead of the actions that prompted it. We have allowed too many tragedies to pass in vain. This isn’t an African-American issue. This is a human issue. Our society must start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation and do the right thing.” (Full statement)

Los Angeles Lakers

From the organization

“We condemn racism, bigotry, violence and prejudice in all its forms. Everyone has the right to live free from fear and to be treated with dignity and respect. We hear the pain of our Black community and we will not stay silent.”

Memphis Grizzlies

From the organization

“The Memphis Grizzlies stand squarely in opposition to racism and injustice. We condemn all acts of racial violence. It is engrained in our culture and part of our ethos, and we are going to build on established initiatives in our community. … We looked internally to understand what additional ways we could support all members of our organization, and recognized that under our current time off policy, staff may have to make a financial sacrifice in order to exercise their right to vote. Knowing fundamentally that change happens at the ballot box, we’ve created a new category of Paid Time Off (PTO) to be used specifically in order to vote so that during local and national elections our staff will never have to make a decision between voting or incurring a financial loss.” (Full statement)

Miami Heat

From the organization

“One of the characteristics that makes the city of Miami so unique is its immense cultural diversity. This diversity is a celebrated part of South Florida, both inside and out of AmericanAirlines Arena. It is one of the reasons we deeply mourn the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, whom we have lost to acts of extreme and excessive violence against African-Americans; acts that have unfortunately become all too commonplace. The Miami HEAT sends their deepest condolences to the Floyd, Taylor and Arbery families. Our hearts are broken. But our resolve is not. We urge everyone to responsibly let their voices be heard and encourage our community to come together.”

Heat legend Udonis Haslem also at a protest in Miami, saying, “As a black man, raising black kids in America, I’m scared as hell, way more scared than I ever was for myself.”

Milwaukee Bucks

From the organization

“We are distraught and angered by the senseless death of George Floyd, but we know this is not an isolated case. Racial biases, abuses of power and injustices continue to plague communities throughout the country, including Milwaukee. There needs to be more accountability. As an organization, we remain deeply committed to address issues of social injustice and to make meaningful change for African-Americans and all marginalized members of our community.”

Minnesota Timberwolves

From the organization

“Our community is grieving the senseless tragedy and death of George Floyd. The entire Timberwolves and Lynx organization shares its deepest sympathy with the Floyd family. We will work tirelessly to use our voices to influence change, encourage healing, and promote thoughtful action as we move forward.”

New Orleans Pelicans

From the organization

“One week ago today, George Floyd was tragically and senselessly murdered. Anger, sadness and protest followed throughout our nation in response to this unjust murder. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of George Floyd. There are no written words, nor the timing of those words that can properly honor the life of George Floyd. We stand against police brutality in any form. Statements are words; unified action towards a solution is what needs to come from this now.” (Full statement)

New York Knicks

From team ownership group Madison Square Garden Company

Every one of us has a role to play in creating a more just and equal society where there is no racism, bigotry, violence or hate. We stand with all who act for positive change.

Oklahoma City Thunder

From the organization

“While great sadness and anger resonates throughout the black community and our entire state and the rest of the nation, we join other leaders in accepting responsibility to continue efforts to expand dialogue and enact real change. We believe that change starts by leading through love, empathy, understanding and leaning on the relationships that we have in place to continue to create a positive impact.” (Full statement)

Orlando Magic

From CEO Alex Martins

“We stand with our neighbors and the nation in condemning the horrific and senseless death of George Floyd. There have been far too many victims of racial bias and abuses of power, particularly in the Black community. As an organization, we remain deeply committed to providing an environment where all feel welcomed, valued and appreciated, where all are treated with dignity and respect.” (Full statement)

Philadelphia 76ers

From the organization

“Our black community and people of color continue to face racism, prejudice and injustice. It is unacceptable and we cannot and will not tolerate it in our community. Now, more than ever, we must strive for accountability, including ensuring that our community is treated with fairness, transparency and dignity. We must stay united and strong during the conflict and hurt we are experiencing. The 76ers are committed to using our voice and taking action to support and drive change that is long overdue.”

Phoenix Suns

From coach Monty Williams

“I’m angry. I’m afraid. And I’m in pain. When I read those words, I feel like I’m channeling one of my kids. These are the words of a teenager lost and looking for direction in a messed-up world, not the sentiment of an NBA head coach and former player. We’re supposed to have all of the answers. We’re supposed to be seen as grace under pressure. We’re supposed to lead by example. Still, I am angry, afraid and in pain. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the solutions start with love, listening, compassion, service and defending those who can’t defend themselves. And I have definitely lost my cool over the years in the face of abject racism — dating back to my earliest memories growing up in Colonial Virginia — and likely more in the days to come.” (Complete open letter)

In an open letter to fans, Aron Baynes says he will do all he can to help the fight for equality.

Portland Trail Blazers

From the organization

“We are devastated and frustrated by the most recent senseless acts of violence in the long continuum of racial injustice in our country. The Trail Blazers organization and players grieve the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless others who have lost their lives in this increasingly familiar manner. This unprecedented moment has challenged us to not be silent but to use our voices, our time and our energy to be genuine allies to those who endure these injustices directly.” (Full statement)

Sacramento Kings

From team owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé

“For all the hope and promise that our country stands for, the freedom to live without fear from the vitriol and hatred of racism is not a reality for millions of Black Americans. Unfortunately, this is not new. For hundreds of years, innumerable men, women and children have been treated as less than, asked to work twice as hard and taken too early as a result of bias, bigotry and unequal treatment.” (Full statement)

San Antonio Spurs

Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV lended an assist by helping clean up the streets of San Antonio on Sunday. A protest Saturday night ended with rioters causing damage to the city’s central business district. Walker IV stated on Twitter that justice can be served while not affecting family businesses and the community. “During this protest everyone isn’t seeing eye level but we have to understand we can only control what we can control. The greatest thing I have seen. At least here in San Antonio is that the COMMUNITY is coming together.”

The Spurs also started a video series on social media to shine a light on the impact of racial injustices.

Toronto Raptors

From team president Masai Ujiri

“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.” (Complete open letter)

Raptors star guard Kyle Lowry took to Twitter on June 1 to share his thoughts on all that has transpired of late, writing in part: “How can I explain to my 4 year old and 8 year old that being black in American comes with a chance you can be harmed, or killed just because of the color of your skin, the texture of your hair, the way you walk, anything they want to say that makes you black!!!”

Utah Jazz

From team owner Gail Miller

“Hearts across America, and in Utah, are hurting following events of racism, discrimination and injustice sparked by the recent and senseless death of George Floyd. As I stated on the basketball court of Vivint Smart Home Arena last year, ‘We believe in treating all people with courtesy and respect as human beings … no one wins when respect goes away.’” (Full statement)

Additionally, Jazz coach Quin Snyder will serve on the NBCA’s committee on racial injustice and reform, the team announced June 1. In an episode of The Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski, Snyder explained his getting involved. “It’s about being willing to have that dialogue, to be transparent with yourself, to be honest with yourself,” Snyder said on the podcast. “Ultimately, as a white man, what I was hearing was, We need help. It’s not enough just to have your support. There has to be a willingness to confront these things when you see them, to be willing to take action.”

Washington Wizards

A united statement from the players

“We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country. We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement. We will no longer accept ineffective government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of color. We will no longer shut up and dribble.”

From team ownership group Monumental Sports & Entertainment

“The death of George Floyd, and many other black Americans, is unconscionable. We believe that there needs to be action and leadership to tackle and address the social injustices and inequities in systemic racism. We stand together knowing there is more to be done.”

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