Clippers coach Doc Rivers: Protests on 'the murder of George Floyd is decades in the making'
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers explained in a statement that “the response we are seeing across the nation, to the murder of George Floyd, is decades in the making.”
“Too often, people rush to judge the response, instead of the actions that prompted it. We have allowed too many tragedies to pass in vain,” Rivers posted Sunday on his Twitter account. “This isn’t an African-American issue. This is a human issue. Our society must start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation, and do the right thing. Silence and inactivity are not acceptable anymore. Now is the time to speak.”
Floyd, who is black, died on Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck despite repeated protests that he struggled breathing. After video of the incident went viral, Chauvin was fired and then charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers were fired for not intervening but have not yet been charged with a crime.
That has prompted various protests around the country to decry police brutality and racial inequality. The city of Los Angeles designated a curfew from Saturday night through early Sunday morning (8 pm - 5:30 am) amid concerns of ongoing looting, property damage and violence. Some published reports indicated that outbreaks often started after law enforcement officials or white protestors instigated the situation.
“My father was a 30-year-old veteran of the Chicago police department, and if he were still with us right now, he’d be hurt and outraged by the senseless acts of racial injustice that continue to plague our country,” Rivers wrote. “Being black in America is tough. I’ve personally been called more racial slurs than I can count, been pulled over many times because of the color of my skin, and even had my home burned down.”
Rivers has become a lead voice with the Clippers and in the NBA for speaking out on racial issues. He became a key figure in uniting both his players and staff members when former Clippers owner Donald Sterling made racist statements released on an audio tape shortly before the 2014 NBA playoffs began.
Rivers has occasionally critiqued President Donald Trump for his divisive rhetoric. He has also encouraged his players to express themselves. On Saturday night, Rivers matched a $25,000 donation that Clippers guard Lou Williams made to the bonds of Atlanta-based protesters.
“November is the time to vote,” Rivers wrote. “Your words carry a lot of weight and your ballots carry even more. The day has come to confront real problems, and be part of the solution.”