An open letter to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving…
Most of your NBA colleagues spoke out about police brutality after disgraced Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned his knee on George Floyd’s neck in an arrest on Memorial Day that resulted in his death.
Chauvin was arrested late Friday morning and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Yet, both of you said nothing.
The NBA lets players free to speak their mind, so this should be an opportunity for both of you to say something in what has been a tough week in America. Instead, both of you decided to say nothing is better than saying anything at all. I mean why bother with the small stuff when you don’t feel the need to be bothered.
But what you two fail to understand is part of being a sports star is responsibility. The responsibility of speaking out on social issues such as what we witnessed this past week.
Both of you are NBA’s marketable stars, and you both play in one of the nation’s biggest media market. So what if you play for the Brooklyn Nets. You two owe it to your colleagues and African Americans to speak out about police brutality. If Jayson Tatum can drive 10 hours from Massachusetts to Atlanta to help lead a protest in America, it shouldn’t be too much to ask for both of you to craft a statement or say something.
For you two to say nothing, it shows how out of touch you are and that you don’t care.
Blacks, whites, Asians, and others take time out of their personal lives for a common cause. They are protesting. In fact, I will be part of the protest at One Police Plaza on Tuesday because I realize it’s a civic duty of mine. Of course, I won’t be rioting, but that’s beside the point.
No one asks you to take part in a protest, though it would be nice if you did. But to say nothing is disappointing. This should be beneath you. You two can make such a difference. You got young people looking up to you, which is part of your responsibility of being an NBA star. It’s not just winning games or achieving glory.
When so many NBA players, NFL players, and WNBA players exercising their power to speak out, you two should not be scared or worried about your brand. This is bigger than basketball. We are in a crisis here. Racism continues to be prevalent, and police brutality towards African Americans keeps rising year after year. We should be all in this together when it comes to standing united against racism and calling for justice. When I mean we, it’s media members, players, coaches, and your average fan.
I look at Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police killing unarmed black men. Yes, I criticized him for that approach, but looking back on it now, I get it, and quite frankly, shame on me for being ignorant and uneducated about his thought process. He should be commended for his courage in taking a stand. He paid the price by being blackballed by NFL owners because white America decided to be woke about his actions.
I appreciate Udonis Haslem doing his part in trying to build trust with the Miami community and police officers. He at least is being proactive in trying to make the world a better place rather than just collect his money the way the both of you have done with the Nets this year.
I love that Enes Kanter and Marcus Smart represented the Celtics Sunday afternoon by speaking at a demonstration in Boston.
I understood with empathy when Pistons head coach Dwane Casey expressed concern and sadness about his 8-year-old son could be experiencing what he experienced living through segregation in Kentucky.
I enjoyed New York Liberty’s Amanda Zahui B. going on Instagram to live for 13 minutes to speak out about racism and the heartlessness of police brutality.
I admired Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud using The Players Tribune to call out people particularly celebrities and even some NBA players for saying nothing about racial inequality. She might have as well-referred to Irving and Durant. Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it.
Maybe one of you or both will say something today. It may be too little too late, but better late than never. You two could use some positive public relations considering the both of you are not exactly well-liked by NBA fans, and in New York, this can be a turnoff by saying nothing.
Maybe you both can attend a rally at One Police Plaza on Tuesday. Not only can you help with demonstrations, but you can encourage us to not riot or fight with officers.
If you don’t do that, you are as spineless as our President.
Think about it, fellas.
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