Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri addressed the current unrest in the United State in an op-ed in The Globe and Mail.
Ujiri said he felt a state of confusion while watching the video of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was handcuffed and unarmed as a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes despite several pleas that he could not breathe. Floyd died on Monday, May 25, 2020.
The video was sent to me without explanation. Watching it, I was confused: What is this? At first, I thought it was from years ago and someone was sharing it to make a point. After all, there have been a lot of conversations recently focusing on interactions that ended with the violent deaths of black men.
Ujiri also talked about his own experiences dealing with the police last June during the Raptors' championship celebration.
I can't write about this issue without acknowledging what happened to me last June. It's been widely reported, but I'll summarize it again. Our team had just won the NBA championship and I was rushing to get on the court to celebrate. I was stopped, physically stopped, by a police officer, and the confrontation turned nasty. There's a lawsuit that's still before the courts - he is suing me - so I can't say too much.
But I will say this: If it was another team president heading for the court - a white team president - would he have been stopped by that officer? I've wondered that.
I recognize what happened in Oakland last June is very different from what happened in Minneapolis last Monday. My own experience only cost me a moment; Mr. Floyd's experience cost him his life.
Canadian Hall of Famer Steve Nash also spoke out on social media.
This is a white problem. How are WE Caucasian people going to create equality? Listen. Read. Walk in others shoes. Organize. Sacrifice. Change. Support. VOTE! These are the MINIMUM of REPARATIONS.- Steve Nash (@SteveNash) June 1, 2020
WNBA star and Hamilton Ontario native Kia Nurse added her thoughts.
It's hard to put all of my emotions into words. Sadness, anger, frustration, outrage...My heart goes out to all the families, friends &loved ones who have been affected by senseless acts of injustice and systemic racism not only recently but throughout history (1/2)- Kia Nurse (@KayNurse11) June 1, 2020
This is not a new problem, there is no justification, there is no reason racism should exist anywhere. Enough is enough. Use your voice, take action toward change...donate, educate yourself, engage in meaningful conversations, refuse to be silent. #BlackLivesMatter (2/2)- Kia Nurse (@KayNurse11) June 1, 2020
The NBA, its teams, coaches, players and executives are outraged by the violence that led to the death of Floyd and countless other African Americans.