• Sarine Kaprielian

How the NBA has Been Responding to Injustice

The United States has seen a surge in the number of people standing up to instances of racial injustice, particularly since the death of George Floyd, who was killed by officer Derek Chauvin on May 25th,2020; this travels all the way to the NBA. Recently, on the 6th of January, a pro-Trump mob invaded the Capitol building, leaving people disgusted that such a scene was able to take place.

NBA players and coaches have been vocal about this incident, even comparing it to the Black Lives Matter protests that happened last year. Some of the most frequent comments made all over social media ponder how this might have transpired during the Black Lives Matter protest. An example of this comes from Philadelphia Sixers’ head coach Doc Rivers as he said during a press conference, “Could you imagine today if those were all black people storming the Capitol and what would have happened? So that, to me, is a picture that’s worth a thousand words for all of us to see, and probably something for us to reckon with”[1]. Another head coach in the NBA, Stan Van Gundy of the New Orleans Pelicans said, “Would the federal response at the Capitol now be the same if it were Black Lives Matters protesters

physically forcing their way into the building?”

A lot of players voiced their opinions on Twitter to show their frustration about the events that took place. One instance was former NBA player Dwyane Wade; after seeing a picture of Trump supporters inside the Capitol building, he tweeted, “Black people get pulled over and don’t make it out alive. We can’t sleep in our own beds without being killed. We can’t jog without being killed. We can’t walk down the street with our hoodies up without being killed but they can do this???”[2]. Multiple players joined in such as Kevin Love, Stephen Curry, and Lebron James just to name a few; all of them want people to recognize the double standard in this country. There are two different American realities being lived, and

following January 6th, that should not be put into question because now the whole country has come to witness it.

The NBA teams that played on the 6th kneeled while the national anthem was playing and some debated about whether they should play at all. On that night, the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat played against each other, but that was very close to being cancelled. According to Celtics coach Brad Stevens, his team “sat in a locker room and talked and to be honest in 30 minutes I didn’t think we were playing ... players finished talking and chose to play”[3].

I applaud the NBA players and coaching staff who have taken the opportunity to use their platforms to spread a message. They showed that while they were standing up to the government with others around the country, demanding the deliverance of human rights for black people, which was deemed an act of terrorism, it had really been the cruel acts by Trump supporters that should have been the concern all along. The people that stormed the Capitol building believed they were doing a patriotic act, but beating police officers with American flags and chanting things like “hang Mike Pence” is not patriotic at all. I would like to think that we as a country are better than this, but the question becomes: Are we really?

This event is one of many that truly exposed the dark side of our character as a country.


[1] Wright, Michael C. “NBA Coaches, Players React to Breach of U.S. Capitol.” NBA Coaches, Players React to Breach of U.S. Capitol | NBA.com, 2021, www.nba.com/news/nba-coaches-players-react-to-breach-of-u-s-capitol.

[2] Wade, Dwyane. Twitter, Twitter, 6 Jan. 2021,

[3] Nichols, Rachel, director. How the Sports World Reacted to the Riots at the U.S. Capitol | The Jump. YouTube , ESPN, 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWQUdNw_pP4.

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