Stephen Jackson’s friend, George Floyd, was killed in Minneapolis on May 25th while in police custody. Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests, now in their third week calling out racial injustice and seeking an end to police brutality.
What We Know:
- Jackson, who has referred to Floyd as his brother because of their physical resemblance in addition to their close bond, has taken part in the protests and been vocal about his desire to get justice for his friend and reform police behavior. The 2003 NBA champion took to Instagram on Saturday to give his thoughts on the league’s attempt to resume the season amid social upheaval.
“Now ain’t the time to be playing basketball y’all. Now ain’t the time. Playing basketball is going to do one thing: take all the attention off the task at hand right now and what we fighting for.”
- “Everybody’s going to be worried about the playoffs,” Jackson continued. “They’re going to have all that blasting all over the TV, and nobody’s going to be talking about getting justice for all these senseless murders by the police, and nobody’s going to be focused on the task at hand, bro. None of these white owners have spoken up. None of them are taking a stand. Yeah, they might post a video when the season starts of saying what we should do, but they ain’t doing nothing. Playing basketball ain’t going to do nothing but make them money and take the attention off what we’re fighting for, what we’re marching for. It’s bigger than all of us, and it’s bigger than the game. I’m sad that we still got to explain that to people, bro. Sad.”
- Others took stances similar to Jackson’s, suggesting the need for social change outweighs resuming the NBA season. On Friday night, Brooklyn Nets guard and National Basketball Association Vice President Kyrie Irving held a call with 80 members of the players union in which he advocated against resuming the season in Orlando, Florida, as part of the leagues approved plan to host a 22-team restart.
- Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard agrees with Irving. Howard told CNN in a statement through his agent, “basketball, or entertainment period, isn’t needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction”.
- Irving’s teammate, Garrett Temple disagreed. Temple told ESPN, “The difference in the economic gap between white America and black America is astronomical. I can’t in good conscience tell my brethren to throw away millions of dollars in order to create change that I don’t see the direct impact of – if there was a direct impact of laws changing, that would be a different story.”
On Friday night, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported LeBron James is still in favor playing the season, noting the Los Angeles Lakers star believes the NBA can be a force for change while games are being held.