By: Joaquin Heredia, Sports, The Pawprint
On January 6th 2021, radical Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the result of the election. They vandalized and occupied the building for several hours, forcing those inside to go under lockdown.
NBA players have acted as social injustice figures in the past, such as during the protests of last year that preceded the killing of George floyd, and they’ve used their voice and platform to spread their message to a wider audience.
Philadelphia 76ers head coach, Doc Rivers, pointed out some of the differences he saw in the way the police handled the rioters in the capitol, and the way they handled the BLM protesters last year, stating “You know, when you saw the protests in the summer and you saw the riots, or more the police and the National Guard and the Army, and then you see this, and you saw nothing. It basically proves a point about a privileged life in a lot of ways.” He follows up with “Could you imagine today if those were all black people storming the Capitol and what would have happened? So that, to me, is a picture that’s worth a thousand words for all of us to see, and probably something for us to reckon with. Again, you know, no police dogs turned on people, no billy clubs hitting people; people peacefully being escorted out of the Capitol. So, it shows that you can disperse a crowd peacefully, I guess. But it’s a sad day in a lot of ways; not good for our country.” Doc’s father served as a police father for 30 years in Maywood, Cal.
It’s not only coaches who have taken the opportunity to use their platform to address these social justice issues, but players too. While they did not postpone or cancel any games, due to the fact that this year’s schedule is shorter than usual, players did show their view before, in, and after the game. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics took a knee and interlocked arms during the National Anthem, and after the match Celtics players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown used their post game interview to reference a point made by MLK on “Two split different Americas”. Jaylen states “In one America, you get killed by sleeping in your car, selling cigarettes or playing in your backyard. In another America, you get to storm the Capitol, and no tear gas, no massive arrests, none of that”. Also, the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons forfeited the Jump Ball to stop and take a knee.
NBA players will continue to serve as social injustice fighters and as a voice for those who don’t have one. They will not stop until true equality is granted to all who live in the USA.