Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem has spoken on the racial issues currently gripping the United States.
Several protests are being led across the U.S following the killing of African American George Floyd by a white police officer. The officer in question has since been stripped of his badge and charged for third degree murder but protests are still rife amid one of the most stressful periods in recent memory, one brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Haslem, who is likely to retire from basketball at the end of the 2019/20 season, spoke at a press conference in Miami this week and pledged his support to the fight against racial injustice.
“I stand here right now confused, torn and frustrated,” Haslem said. “I wasn’t even supposed to be here, but I just wanted to come, I wanted to be a part of the solution. We have to have a plan moving forward, it has to be together.
“As a black man raising black kids in America, I’m scared as hell, way more scared than I ever was for myself.”
“People say people are born leaders, I couldn’t have been born for this. I could have never seen this coming,” the 39-year-old added. “It’s my responsibility to do something.”
The NBA Has Been Particularly Vocal Over This Latest Incident
Udonis Haslem is just one of the many NBA voices to speak out against the killing of blacks by white police officers in America, as well as racism in general. Floyd happened to be a longtime friend of former NBA star Stephen Jackson, who has been very outspoken since learning of his friend’s death.
Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics led a peaceful protest in his Atlanta hometown on the weekend while several NBA coaches have given statements. Michael Jordan has also put out a statement expressing sadness and anger over Floyd’s killing.
“We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality,” the former NBA superstar and current Charlotte Hornets owner wrote. “We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability.”
In yet another commendable move, the National Basketball Coaches Association has formed a committee to take on issues of racial injustice and seek reform within NBA cities.
“Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale and Stan Van Gundy — some of the profession’s most thoughtful and consistent voices on social issues in the sport — were among the coaches selected to a committee that helped craft a forcefully worded denouncement of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis and the greater pattern of violence and intolerance toward African Americans in the United States,” ESPN reports.
Haslem’s Miami Heat published a statement of their own on the matter.