Athletes, coaches, leagues and teams in the sports world continue to offer statements about fighting social injustice. Protests have taken place across the United States and world, and in some cases, have led to riots and looting.
Prominent sports figures have decided to use their voices.
Sixers players Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle marched in a protest in Philadelphia over the death of George Floyd. Teammate Ben Simmons took to Twitter to voice his support for Floyd and other victims of social injustice.
“We are ALL accountable & we shouldn’t have to revisit tragedies like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery time & time again. Enough is enough,” Simmons said as part of a Twitter thread.
Former 76ers player and assistant coach Monty Williams also posted an Op-Ed to voice his frustration with the justice system. He described his feelings as “angry," “afraid” and “in pain.”
“It IS time to raze the institutional foundations of racism and segregation within politics, law enforcement and society at large. It must happen NOW,” Williams said in the Op-Ed issued to the Athletic.
Three notable college coaches -- Villanova’s Jay Wright, Temple’s Aaron McKie and and La Salle’s Ash Howard -- posted statements on their twitter accounts.
“Nova Nation we all must support our black brothers and sisters and work to be a force of love as our Augustinian community teaches us,” Wright said as part of his Twitter post.
The Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are noticeable names in the basketball community who have been actively voicing their concerns.
Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to Atlanta to participate in the protest. He is a native of Atlanta. Brown, 22, has one of the biggest voices in the NBA and was elected as the youngest National Basketball Players’ Association vice president in 2019.
Cuban was spotted in Dallas with several members of the Mavericks’ team outside of the Dallas police headquarters.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar posted an Op-Ed via the Los Angeles Times on Saturday night. Abdul-Jabbar spoke about how people shouldn’t be too quick to judge the protesters.
“The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness — write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change — the needle hardly budges,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
Abdul-Jabbar famously boycotted the 1968 Olympics due to social injustice in America. He’s written for The Guardian and The Hollywood Reporter, among other publications, about human rights issues.
“African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.”
The NBA’s Washington Wizards’ players issued a statement.
University of Tennessee Athletic Director and former football coach Phillip Fulmer called for fans to support the black athletes on Tennessee’s campus.
“Vol Nation, let’s rise to the challenge to meet a new standard. If you’re going to support our black student-athletes when they compete, please have the courage to support them and their families in their daily pursuit of peace, happiness and equity," Fulmer said.
Joel Embiid says he was progressing mentally before the shutdown
Joel Embiid feels like he turned a corner after the All-Star Game but just didn’t have enough time to show it.
Not only did the NBA’s stoppage halt his progress, but a shoulder sprain also caused him to miss five games. Embiid returned in what ended up being the Sixers’ last game played and scored 30 points and had 14 rebounds against the Pistons.
"I feel like before the season got shut down, I was on that path,” Embiid said to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Marc Zumoff. “Especially after that All-Star Game, my mentality just completely changed. First part of the season, it wasn’t up to my standards — not even close. I was on that path to just changing all that and making it happen.”
Embiid averaged 22.9 points and 11.9 rebounds in 30.5 minutes before before the break. His numbers jumped to 27.6 points and 11 rebounds in 28.2 minutes in his five games after the all-star break.
Malik Rose leaving position as Pistons assistant GM
Former Drexel basketball star Malik Rose is leaving his role as the Detroit Pistons’ assistant general manager and will take a job with the NBA, according to Stefan Bondy.
Rose played 13 seasons in the NBA and won two championships. After his career ended, he was a color commentator for the Sixers on Comcast SportsNet from 2011-2015. Rose was also in the Atlanta Hawks’ front office before joining the Pistons in 2018.
The Philly native made a name for himself locally at Overbrook High before setting scoring and rebounding records at Drexel.