Local athletes, teams address police brutality, protests
by Bryan Fonseca
Jun 02, 2020 | 7680 views | 0 0 comments | 932 932 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In aftermath of recorded killings to unarmed black American citizens Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, riots have ensued and people of all backgrounds have spoken out demanding justice.

Protests have been prominent in the New York City and tristate area, with the are surrounding Barclays Center becoming a recurring host to marches all weekend long.

The Barclays Center, along with the Brooklyn Nets, Long Island Nets and New York Liberty – all of whom are under the BSE (Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment) umbrella – released a joint statement over the weekend addressing the killings and protests.

“We mourn the senseless and devastating loss of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others who lost their lives because of racial bias,” the statement read. “Today, we stand up and speak up against all forms of racial discrimination —overt or subconscious— especially against the Black community. We want to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Brooklyn native and afro-latino Brian Flores – head coach of the Miami Dolphins – also released a statement over the weekend, talking at length about Colin Kaepernick’s stance back in 2016, and how impactful that still reigns today.

Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in a protest directed at police brutality, and has been blackballed from the NFL ever since, despite a proficient, starting quarterback-worthy career resume.

Flores, who is black and of Honduran descent, is one of only four black or Latino head coaches in the 32-team NFL.

“I vividly remember the Kaepernick conversations,” the Poly Prep alum said in a statement posted by the Dolphins. “Don’t ever disrespect the flag was the phrase I heard over and over again. The idea that players were kneeling in support of social justice was something that some people couldn’t wrap their head around.

“The outrage I saw in the media and the anger I felt in some private conversations caused me to sever a few long-standing relationships,” he added.

Starting pitcher and Long Island native Marcus Stroman, whom the New York Mets acquired last July, also tweeted over the weekend about the issues.

“Racism is engrained in our society/culture and the world seems incapable of change,” he posted. “To change the world we must begin with ourselves. Truly look in the mirror and identify if you're part of the problem or the solution. Your true colors will always be revealed!”

Additionally, Stroman directed praise toward Governor Andrew Cuomo for his statements on police brutality. Over the weekend, Cuomo said he’s “with the protestors.”

New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris – a Long Island native – partook in separate protests over the weekend.

Smith engaged in a protest held in his home of in Fayetteville, North Carolina, alongside prominent hip-hop artist J. Cole, who is a St. John’s University graduate. Harris participated in Philadelphia.

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