Clippers coach Doc Rivers speaks out against 'senseless acts of racial injustice'

Andrew Greif
LA Times
In a statement released Sunday, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the response to George Floyd's death has been "decades in the making." <span class="copyright">(Scott Halleran / Getty Images)</span>
In a statement released Sunday, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the response to George Floyd's death has been "decades in the making." (Scott Halleran / Getty Images)

Invoking his personal history of experiencing racism while reflecting on the death of George Floyd, Clippers coach Doc Rivers decried the “senseless acts of racial injustice that continue to plague our country” in a statement issued Sunday by the team.

“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.

“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.

“Silence and inactivity are not acceptable anymore. Now is the time to speak. November is the time to vote. Your words carry a lot of weight and your ballots carry even more. The day has come to confront real problems, and be part of the solution.”

A cellphone video showed a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes on May 25 while Floyd struggled to breathe, gradually becoming motionless. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Other officers seen in the video ignored the pleas of bystanders.

Floyd’s death has sparked protests nationwide, including Los Angeles. Atlanta saw a massive protest last week, and Clippers guard Lou Williams, who grew up outside the city and lives in Georgia in the offseason, said on Instagram that he would pledge $25,000 to fund bail for Atlanta-based protesters who had been arrested.

“I stand in solidarity with my black brothers & sisters in the long overdue fight for justice & equality,” Williams wrote in his post. “I encourage you to protest the best way you see fit without destroying our own community & black-owned businesses.

“. . . I challenge my friends to join this fund.”

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