KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Shake Milton had his own agenda Sunday during the 76ers’ media availability.
The new starting point guard talked about keeping the focus on the fight against racial injustice while declining to discuss his struggles in Saturday’s 127-121 seeding-opener loss to Indiana Pacers. Milton didn’t speak to the media after the game, in which he went scoreless with 3 turnovers, 3 assists, 1 rebound, and 5 fouls in just over 19 minutes. He also had an ugly exchange with teammate Joel Embiid.
“I didn’t really come here to talk about that,” Milton said Sunday.
“I came here to just say to anybody that’s out here watching me or listening to me, ‘Keep fighting. Keep putting the word out about what’s going on. Don’t let up,’ ” he continued. “I mean the iron, right now, is hot about what’s going on with this country, the racial injustices that are happening. So keep fighting. Keep putting that word out.”
Milton also had a message for Breonna Taylor’s family: “We’re sorry that [justice is] taking so long.”
He joined teammates Tobias Harris and Mike Scott and a chorus of NBA players who have used their news conferences amid the restart to speak out on behalf of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who died from being shot at least eight times after Louisville Metro Police Department officers used a battering ram to enter her apartment before 1 a.m. March 13. The officers were serving a no-knock search warrant as a part of a narcotics investigation.
There has been public outrage over the killing and the fact that no criminal charges have been filed. The players want Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to arrest the officers involved.
“We know Daniel Cameron has the power,” Milton said. “So we have to keep pushing and making his seat hot for him to make a decision.
“So also I want to say rest in peace to Breonna Taylor, rest in peace to Ahmaud Arbery and rest in peace to Kalief Browder, as well,” he said. “That’s all I have to say.”
Browder, a Black male, was 16 when he was arrested in 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack and jailed in New York’s notorious Rikers Island for three years, two of them in solitary confinement. The case was dropped and Browder was released. However, he took his own life in 2015, due in part to the psychological damage and violence suffered at the prison, according to family members. In January 2019, New York City settled a lawsuit with the Browder family for $3.3 million over the three-year jail stint over a minor theft case that never went to trial.
Arbery, a 25-year-old Black male, was killed in Brunswick, Ga., while jogging on Feb. 23. More than two months later, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, who are white, were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault for the shooting of Arbery on a residential street. The arrests came after a national outcry. William Bryan, a motorist who filmed the shooting, was charged with felony murder on May 21. The elder McMichael told police Bryan had tried to help them stop Arbery.
The Sixers intend to continue to use their platform inside the NBA bubble to bring awareness to racism and social injustice.
“We are trying to educate people,” Milton said. “Then I think we are going to break it down. It hasn’t really been determined 100% which way we are going to go. ... Hopefully, everybody is going be able to share something that’s important to them.”
Scott will miss his second straight game with right knee soreness when the 76ers face the San Antonio Spurs Monday night. Meanwhile, Glenn Robinson III is listed as doubtful with a hip pointer.
Robinson last played in the first half of the Sixers’ scrimmage against Oklahoma City on Aug. 26. He missed their scrimmage with Dallas on Tuesday and Saturday’s seeding-game loss to the Pacers.