Atlanta Hawks Head Coach Addresses NBA Strikes For Racial Justice
The National Basketball Association put the world on notice this week playoff games came to a halt when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play on Wednesday in protest of the latest police shooting of Jacob Blake. A black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Protest in other leagues followed suit The W N B a major league baseball, hockey and football college athletes marched on campus in solidarity with players trying to raise awareness on racism and police brutality. To talk about what's next. We're joined by the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Lloyd Pierce. Thank you for coming on the program. Thank you for having me so, Coach. I understand you have been in touch with Jacob Blakes. Father. Why was it important for you to reach out to him? The level of influence and access that we have as an association is really, really high and and so just the opportunity that was presented to us as coaches Our coaches association to connect with the family, I thought would be It's really impactful trying to figure out one out. They're all doing and to what we can do from a humanity standpoint, too. Really be there in support of the family. I have to ask emotionally. Did this shooting bring up feelings that you had back in June when the during the killing of Rashard Brooks in Atlanta? Every shooting as an emotional attachment, and I think every time you see another one, you know it brings you back. They just all add on and for people that are dealing with anxiety deep people are dealing with depression, people that are feeling like There's so much stress that's occurring. You can see how that comes about, you know, n Ba players sent a clear message this week that reverberated throughout the sports world. Beyond that the protests led to some concrete commitments for change. For instance, the Wisconsin Legislature committed to going into special session on police reform. What kinds of things were achieved through this action? Well, I think the biggest thing that the players were able to do was was expressed that they want to be hurt. They wanted our league toe put racial discrimination, racial profiling, racial injustice, police brutality. They wanted to put that at the forefront. Obviously, there are some tangible items that came about, you know, with with emphasis on voting, with the emphasis on forming a coalition to address these issues moving forward with the emphasis on the policing bill. Writes and addressing that from a legislative standpoint, you've been a prominent voice in Atlanta for racial justice and a protest this summer. I'm going to quote you now, you said. I was born a black man. I'm going to die a black man, But I do not want to die because I'm a black man. Why is sharing your experience with the community there in Atlanta? Important to you? I'm sharing it with anyone that'll listen. And I think it's important to note that you know, prior to June are really, really Phil. That a lot of people in our country both black and white, and any other ethnicity. We're pretty ignorant, Teo the fact that there are a lot of people that feel and think that I in the way that I do in terms of the fear of being black, the fear of living in America and being a black man. I wonder what you say to people who And we've heard this time and time again who think that athletes should be athletes and stay away from the politics? Well, I wasn't and I'm not a person who grew up interested in politics. But what I really don't see is someone that looks like me. That's our fight. Our fight is we need to address areas of legislation. We need to address areas of representation and in order to do so. It's going to require other individuals to fight for those people to be in that position, And so if it requires us athletes on us in sports to push for new representation, and that starts with the vote, then that's what that's what we're going to be committed to. You know, you're the chair of AA Committee of the Coaches Association. That's focused on racial injustice. What what do you see? Coming next from the N B A on this subject? You know, hopefully a lot of hope. There are a lot of angles that come out of this. This isn't us saying we had the answers and we're going to. We're going to tell our players. We have the answers, and this is what we're going to do know this is a different This is a different world for all of us, and so we have committed Ourselves, too. Working with Bryan Stevenson from Unequal Justice Initiative, working with the Obama Foundation in my brother's keeper on mentoring and community initiatives for low income areas, working with various individuals who Are focused in our communities on racial justice, education, access, health care, access, police reform legislative items We want to hear from them. We want to be educated, and we want to be able to amplify the work that they're doing, and that's that's been our focus from day one. That was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Lloyd Pierce. Thank you so much for being on our programme.