Hawks Coach Lloyd Pierce Responds to the Criticism of How the NBA Has Protested Police Brutality
Last week, one of President Donald J. Trump’s senior advisors, Jared Kushner, who is also his son-in-law, was asked to share how he felt about the peaceful protests and boycotts that have been taking place within the world of sports particularly the NBA and the WNBA.
In his response, which was described as “weird” by CNN’s John Berman, Kushner said that while he gets why they are standing up for the issues, he thinks they should be doing so in a more tangible way.
“They have the luxury of taking the night off from work, most Americans don’t have the financial luxury to do that,” Kushner began. “I think that it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue but I’d like to see them moving into more concrete solutions that are productive.”
While talking with Berman, the head coach for the Atlanta Hawks, Lloyd Pierce, then shared his thoughts on Kushner’s words and the other criticisms the NBA has faced over how they have handled being voices against police brutality.
“Well, I think we’re all infuriated by the criticism of our acts,” Pierce clearly stated. They are frustrated because it’s not the acts of protest but rather it’s about what is going on in the world right now.
“You know, it started with kneeling and Colin Kaepernick, it passed over into what the NBA and WNBA and what all the different sports are going to do during the national anthem. Because it gets focused on the acts and I think, what you’re saying right now, we don’t want people to be distracted by the act. We want people to hear what’s going on. And how we feel about what’s going on in our country.”
And when it comes to their privilege, Pierce says they understand they can do things that average-paid Americans cannot. But that is also why he says it is the coaches and athletes civic duty to take a night or two off of work to bring awareness.
“And so yes, we’re speaking from a position of privilege. We are athletes, we are in an extremely well-paid position. We all understand that. And this is why it is our civic duty and our responsibility to speak out, to take a day off, to take two days off, to make a statement so that we bring awareness and we find ways to get to tangible action. This is what this is all about.”
As Pierce continued, it is their goal to eventually create more concrete change. They don’t plan on only kneeling or wearing shirts to enact change. “We don’t want to just make a statement and just kneel or just wear a shirt. We want to see things change,” Pierce told CNN. “And until those things are put in place and until we can partner with different groups and organizations who can help change some legislative items, bring some policies to the table, we want to understand that a little better.”
“But we know from our privileged position, we have the capability of doing that more than some of these grad students and organizations who have been doing it for years. We want to partner with them, we want to be able to change these things in a way that creates change in our community. So yeah, we know it, we understand it, but that’s the point,” the coach concluded. “That’s the purpose.”
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