George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks have been eye-opening for 76ers coach Brett Brown.
“So this thing that we’re talking about … for me, as a 59-year-old white man is just jaw-dropping in relation to being educated,” Brown said Wednesday during a Zoom call with the media.
The coach revealed that 99% of his last two team Zoom meetings with players were spent discussing racial injustice. The other 1% was spent telling them to get in shape.
Brown is a member of the National Basketball Coaches Association’s 11-member committee on racial injustice and reform that was established after Floyd, a Black man, was killed May 25 by since-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white. Floyd was unarmed and handcuffed and told Chauvin he couldn’t breathe.
Three other now-former officers — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Since then, Brown and the committee have met with experts to learn more about racial injustice. The education he has received is similar to the one he gets from his visits to the Martin Luther King Museum when the Sixers are in Memphis to play the Grizzlies.
“I’d walk out of that thing and turn to my team every single time and apologize,” Brown said. “I was just ashamed. This thing here that we’re living right now, all of us, is real.
“It is incredibly real with my team.”
The National Basketball Players Association and NBA are planning to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the court inside both sidelines in all three of the arenas that will be used at Walt Disney World during the NBA restart.
The league will also allow players to replace the names on the back of their jerseys with statements promoting the fight against racial inequality and social injustice. The plan is to keep the focus on the Black Lives Matter movement.
“So what the league has decided to do in Orlando in some of the things that are now going on with Black Lives Matter, I look forward to getting in Orlando and looking at my guys and trying to figure out what’s our path,” Brown said. “What can we do as a team? How bout Philly? When you really dig in, what’s going on really in Philly that we can maybe make a difference.