BOSTON (CBS) — Young Celtics star Jaylen Brown has been a leader in the locker and outside of it this year as an outspoken advocate for Black lives and racial justice in America.
Despite his involvement and activism, the 23-year-old had low expectations for the grand jury decision in Kentucky, regarding the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police.
“I mean, it’s tough. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised by the verdict,” Brown said Wednesday night after the Celtics’ loss to the Heat. “It’s tough. It’s tough. It’s hard to gather the words, but I wasn’t surprised. I think that this society, the way it was built, and the way … intentions was to never protect and serve people of color initially. So when they were gearing up for what was about to happen, I knew that the wrong decision was probably being made. But it doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t surprise me at all.”
The grand jury in Kentucky decided to file charges against just one of the three involved officers. The charge was for “wanton endangerment,” and that charge did not apply to Taylor, who was shot and killed by police.
“To have 15 rounds of gun fire fired, five of which hit her, and there to be wanton endangerment — which I didn’t know existed before today — as the charge. Yeah, I mean, it’s tough,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said prior to Game 4.
Fellow young Celtics star Jayson Tatum shared emotions in line with Brown’s after the game.
“It’s frustrating,” Tatum said. “I kind of felt like we knew what was going to happen, then still when it happens, it’s sad. It’s frustrating. It’s been 194 days. There’s still no justice. Still having to fight for the same thing. It’s just a lot to process. It was a tough day, a tough day for all of us.”
Kemba Walker, the Celtics’ veteran star, said that he continues to feel for Taylor’s family.
“I can’t wrap my head around it, to be honest,” Walker said. “I’m kind of at a loss for words to be honest with you. It’s a really sad situation. I just really feel bad for her and her family. They definitely deserve more. They deserve justice; it didn’t happen. But we as a people, we have to stand strong with them, support them as best as we can. I wish the best for that family.”
Brown said it was difficult to get “emotionally ready” for the Celtics’ critical Game 4 vs. Miami just hours after the decision was announced, as he expressed dismay that similar situations will surely continue to play out across America until the system is changed.
“Until we dismantle, recreate or change this system that we have, it’s going to continue to have victims — like Breonna Taylor and others — that fall victim to oppression,” Brown said.