BOSTON (CBS) — The past week has been a difficult one to experience and witness for large portions of America, with people from all walks of life sharing in that struggle together.

Moved by the protests and social unrest playing out from coast to coast, current Los Angeles Clippers head coach and former Boston Celtics head coach released a statement, urging Americans to look at the root causes of the reactions instead of the reactions themselves.

“The response we are seeing across the nation, to the murder of George Floyd, is decades in the making,” Rivers said. “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. 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.”

Rivers suggested that Americans can enact change with their votes.

“November is the time to vote,” Rivers said. “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.”

Rivers, 58, shared his own life experiences as the son of a Chicago police officer.

“My father was a 30-year 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 said. “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.”

A day after Rivers released his statement, the NBA Coaches Association released a statement on behalf of all NBA head coaches and assistant coaches.

“As NBA coaches — both head and assistant coaches — we lead groups of men, most of whome are African American, and we see, hear and share their feelings of disgust, frustration, helplessness and anger,” the statement read. “The events of the past few weeks — police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism are shameful, inhuman and intolerable. As a diverse group of leaders, we have a responsibility to stand up and speak out for those who don’t have a voice — and to stand up and speak out for those who don’t feel it is safe to do so.”

“Witnessing the murder of George Floyd in cold blood and in broad daylight has traumatized our nation, but the reality is that African Americans are targeted and victimized on a daily basis,” the statement continued. “As NBA coaches, we cannot treat this as an isolated incident of outrage. We are committed to working in our NBA cities with local leaders, officials and law enforcement agencies to create positive change in our communities. We have the power and platform to affect change, and we will use it.”

 

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