76ers’ Doc Rivers, others around NBA speak out on Capitol riot: ‘Imagine if they were Black people’
76ers coach Doc Rivers was among those in the NBA community reacting with revulsion to the assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump, united in the view there would have been a deadlier outcome had the rioters been Black people.
On a dark day for the United States, thousands of Trump backers descended on Washington for a protest rally, refusing to accept the result of November’s election that saw Joe Biden sweep to power.
Two weeks out from Biden’s inauguration, many violent protesters breached security and accessed the Capitol, causing carnage and destruction as they appeared to go largely unchallenged.
There were a number of casualties, with four dead including a woman who was shot, while reports said a number of explosive devices were discovered.
Here’s how NBA players and coaches responded to the events that took place in Washington on Wednesday:
— Rivers called the insurgency “pretty disturbing” but vowed that “democracy will prevail.”
“It shows a lot, though,” Rivers said. “When you saw the [Black Lives Matter] protests in the summer, you saw the riots or more the police and the national guard and the army. And then you see this and you saw nothing. It basically proves the point about a privileged life in a lot of ways. I’ll say it because I don’t think a lot of people want to: Could you imagine today if those were all Black people storming the Capitol and what would have happened?
“So that to me is a picture that’s worth a thousand words for all of us to see and probably something for us to reckon with again.”
— “It’s very unfortunate to see,” Wizards star Russell Westbrook said. “If those roles were reversed, if those were African-Americans, Black people, it would be totally different.”
He said the chaos was “just crazy, almost like a movie,” and teammate Bradley Beal agreed it was hard to stomach the scenes, given his view that police took a far less lenient approach to protesters during last year’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
“It’s very disheartening in a lot of ways — a lack of sense of urgency to respond to what was going on, versus protesters at Black Lives Matter over the summer,” Beal said. “The people who were invading our Capitol, that’s unheard of and it’s disheartening this is where we’re at as a country.”
— “You just see the privilege, you see the privilege in America,” Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said. “It’s sad to see, because if any of us was out there, I think we would’ve been tear-gassed, Maced, probably gunshots, you know?”
— “In one America, you get killed by sleeping in your car, selling cigarettes or playing in your backyard,” Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said. “In another America, you get to storm the Capitol, and no tear gas, no massive arrests, none of that.”
— “My thoughts on the situation are simple,” Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “I think if these were Black people that were storming the Capitol, it would end up as the largest massacre in U.S. history.”
— “A pretty clear reminder that the truth matters,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ve been talking about this for years, but the truth matters in our country, and anywhere in any circumstance, because of the repercussions if we allow lies to spread.”
— “We see the two different USAs that we live in,” Heat star Jimmy Butler said. “It’s sad. It truly is. It’s sad.”
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