Nuggets’ Tim Connelly, Michael Malone speak out about racism following George Floyd tragedy
The tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department has sent shockwaves throughout the world. People around the world are protesting and asking a vital question: When will this stop?
Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and Head Coach Michael Malone want to use their platform to help make a difference.
“The inability of our country to accept real issues is probably the scariest thing,” Connelly said in an interview with Sports Social Wednesday. “Accepting the fact that this 100 percent is an issue – how do we no longer talk around it but about it.”
"Silence and inactivity can no longer be accepted,” Malone said in an Altitude Sports Radio interview Tuesday. “I'm not African-American, I'm White. I don't know what it's like [to be black] and I haven't walked through those shoes. But I want to help."
Both men have seen incidents throughout their lives that display what they believe is systemic racism. Malone recalled a harrowing incident when he was a member of a high school basketball team from Hempstead, NY traveling down south.
“I can remember in Mississippi, we’re in the mall, me and all of our teammates. And again, I’m the only white kid on the team…An older white gentleman came up to me said, ‘Why are you hanging out with all of these…’ and he used the N-word. [Then] we stopped at a movie theater to go to the movies and the lady at the register said ‘Listen the coach and the white kids can come, and no one else can.’ That’s the 1980s.”
He added, “It still exists.”
With protests happening in Denver’s capital, both men have been trying to make an impact in the city. Connelly has been at a protest with PJ Dozier and has also worked with Malone to arrange a meeting with local politicians and police in the city.
“We’re actively trying to set up a town hall meeting with the Mayor [Mike Hancock] and the Police Chief [Paul Pazen],” Malone said. “[We’re also trying] to really get our players to use their voice…To get comfortable having these uncomfortable conversations.”
Malone added, “This cannot be issuing a statement. This can’t be us wearing a pin on our lapel when we start playing. We’ve done that. We’ve been there – That has done nothing.”
Connelly hopes when it comes to the issue of racism, politics isn’t a factor and people think about humanity instead.
“It can’t be a political hot potato. The numbers are daunting, it’s dramatic what the differences in the judicial system are when you’re not white. Accept that as a fact,” Connelly explained. “Understand that our system is broken. It has long been broken. Let’s be aggressive in trying to reach real change.”