BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics were not in any mood to talk about basketball on Tuesday. Instead, players took their time with reporters to speak out against the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot by police seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin over the weekend.
Police were responding to a fight when the incident occurred, a fight that Blake had reportedly tried to break up. He was tased when police arrived on the scene, and after failing to comply with officers, was shot in the back as he entered his car. Blake’s children were in the car at the time of the shooting, and though Blake is expected to survive, his father says his son is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, who led a peaceful protest in his home state of Georgia following the death of George Floyd, responded to the shooting on Twitter on Monday night.
There is inequalities and injustices that carry HARSH punishments for people of color !! I watched a man get shot 7 times in front of his children they will never be able to unsee what they just saw every nerve in my body is on fire
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) August 25, 2020
Brown used his time with reporters on Tuesday to expand on his thoughts, sharing some powerful words on the incident and others that have plagued the country in recent months.
“There is an emphasis in this country on the framing of these instances, such as Jacob Blake. ‘Well, he was a convicted felon. Well, he had a history of police brutality. He possibly had a weapon.’ This framework is not unfamiliar to people of color and African Americans, nor does it constitute death or being shot seven times,” said Brown. “The reality is the majority of African Americans and people of color have a history with police. It comes with the plagues of systematic oppression, lack of education, economic opportunity and housing.
“Most people of color and minority communities have issues with police. The question that I would like to ask is, does America think that Black people or people of color are uncivilized savages and naturally unjust, or are we products of the environments we participate in? That is the question I would like to ask of America, and America has proven its answer over and over again,” continued Brown.
“Are we not human beings? Is Jacob Blake not a human being? I don’t care if he did something 10 years ago, 10 days ago or 10 minutes ago. If he served his sentence and was released back in society, he still deserves to be treated like a human and doesn’t deserve to be shot in the back seven times with the intent to kill. His kids will never unsee that. His family will never unsee that. Frankly, I will never unsee that,” he said.
“People post my jersey all the time — No. 7. Every time I look at my jersey now, what I see is a Black man being shot seven times. But all America sees is his background or his background before. It’s easier to see that than it is to see the truth,” concluded Brown.
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) August 25, 2020
The Celtics are set to play the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the NBA playoffs, with the series tipping off Thursday evening. Boston guard Marcus Smart said that the team has discussed a potential boycott, since speaking out on racial inequality in the country is not making a difference.
“It’s been talked about, but we haven’t confirmed anything. It’s definitely in the back of our minds to not play,” said Smart. “There’s more important things than basketball right now. … Something has to be done, and right now our focus should not be on basketball.”
Raptors players Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell both said Tuesday that Toronto has also discussed a potential boycott. Smart said that all players need to get on the same page and make a decision on the matter.