Indiana Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon described how a “restless energy” led him to join Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown at a peaceful protest in Atlanta last week and what he would like Americans to focus on next.
Brogdon, 27, penned an op-ed for USA Today Sports about the anger he felt watching the video of George Floyd being killed while Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck. He took that anger and protested in his hometown of Atlanta, joining a large number of NBA players who attended protests in their own cities, even though Brogdon said he “settled on excuses” for a while to not go.
Brogdon, via USA Today:
My grandfather, John Hurst Adams, was a civil rights leader in Waco, Texas, and Seattle, organizing protest marches, sit-ins and boycotts in the fight for racial equality. The concept of participating in the fight for equality is not new to me and I was fortunate enough to grow up hearing stories of my grandfather marching alongside Dr. King.
It was those who came before him — Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X, whom Brogdon said is his namesake — who led him to join the protest with his family.
I was inspired by Malcolm X’s boldness and calls for black empowerment “by any means necessary.” Malcolm evolved over time and came to understand the humanity of us all. I also admired Dr. King’s strategic approach and ability to mobilize millions to change laws and to create a more equitable society. Mandela, a revolutionary who spent 27 years in prison, became educated enough on his nation’s issues to question the leaders in power and dismantle its apartheid system.
His mom then asked, “Now what?” and he offered his thoughts to Americans on what might be next. It starts, he wrote, with justice for Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the countless others who have died in police custody while holding those responsible accountable.
Via USA Today:
— We must see the humanity in each other, so that we can lead with compassion, rather than hate.
— We must recognize that peaceful protest works because we create community and demonstrate our commitment to a cause. It helps people understand our pain and what needs to change.
— We must tear down the barriers erected to prevent our participation in elections. And we must vote at every level — local, state and federal — to support the people who will fight for us.
— We must demand accountability of our elected officials and law enforcement and change the policies that encourage over-policing and use of excessive force in black communities.
— We all must educate ourselves and participate. Together we can fight for the change that enables our country to live up to its promise for all of its citizens.
G League player Justin Anderson also spoke openly about attending the Atlanta protest with Brogdon and Brown. The former Dallas Mavericks first-round pick told Mike Mazzeo of Yahoo Sports he at first worried about his non-guaranteed contract but the realization his future children would be black in America changed his mind.
Former NBA player Royce White led a peaceful protest down the Minneapolis interstate last week. Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant protested at the White House and detailed it for Yahoo Sports’ “Posted Up with Chris Haynes.”
Countless athletes have also gone beyond writing tweets as protests continue around the country following Floyd’s death on May 25. Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud wrote “Your Silence Is a Knee on My Neck” for The Players’ Tribune, asking people with power to stop being silent about social justice issues. Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner, the daughter of two law enforcement officers, told her story to Mechelle Voepel and said she doesn’t want her family to be the next hashtag.
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