BOSTON (CBS) — Jaylen Brown has been one of the most outspoken players in the NBA as the league fights for social equality. He uses his words wisely and passionately, and on Wednesday, suggested that society change its vocabulary when it comes to fighting for change.
For Brown, the word “reform” isn’t strong enough and doesn’t convey the message he and others are trying to get across.
“Reform, we hear it a lot and we’ve been saying that for a long time. Years,” the Celtics guard said Wednesday. “If I wanted to reform my house I might upgrade my kitchen, I might change my garage, I might even do something outside. But the house is still the same. So I think we need to start using different words other than reform, because it’s not the right energy that we are trying to convey.
“I think that ‘recreate’ and ‘dismantle’ and things like that are words we should maybe use,” he continued. “It’s obvious that this incrementalism in this system has just been stringing us along. Year after year after year, reform has been a topic of conversation and some of the same things have happened. Black people are still being killed in their houses, in their backyards, outside of places they spend time at. Reform is not the word, so we need to find a new word.”
Brown’s message came after he was asked about the settlement reached in the Breonna Taylor case. Taylor was killed by Louisville police in March when officers entered her apartment on a no-knock warrant. They were looking for two other men and her boyfriend said that he believed the police were intruders, so he began to shoot at them. Taylor was caught in the crossfire and was killed when she was shot eight times by police during the incident.
On Tuesday, the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12 million and promised police reforms. No criminal charges have been filed against the officers involved.
Brown and his Celtics teammates spoke with Taylor’s mother before heading down to the NBA bubble in Orlando in July, a conversation that resonated with Brown and others.
“The strength that she had during that phone call, it definitely spoke to me. She didn’t cry during that call, she didn’t even complain. She just, in a sense, was happy that somebody cared that something happened to her little girl, and it’s sad because everybody should care,” Brown said Wednesday. “At the end of the day, someone lost their life who didn’t deserve to lose their life. That’s what it comes down to. It’s not just an NBA thing. It shouldn’t be. You should care too.”