May 28, 2023

“This Country Does Not Love Us Back” Doc Rivers Gets Emotional Talking About Jacob Blake Shooting

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“It’s amazing why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back,” Rivers said. “It’s really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. I’m so often reminded of my color. It’s just really sad. We got to do better, but we got to demand better,” Doc Rivers talked after LA Clippers – Dallas Mavericks playoff game 5. about being Black in the U.S. and why police shootings are a reminder of it.

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers made a poignant statement on Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who was shot several times by police. After the Clippers’ Game 5 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Rivers said in a news conference, “We got to do better, but we got to demand better.”

Rivers criticized speakers at the Republican National Convention for talking about “fear” on the first day of the event, while Black Americans live in actual fear of policing in this country.

“What stands out to me is just watching the Republican convention, viewing this fear,” Rivers said. “All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear — we’re the ones getting killed! We’re the ones getting shot! We’re the ones that we’re denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. All you do is keep hearing about fear.

LeBron James reflects on Jacob Blake shooting: ‘Black people in America are scared’

LeBron James also has condemned the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and discussed the fear Black people feel. The NBA superstar said in a post-game news conference Monday night that Black people in America are “scared.”

After a Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 4 victory over the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference playoffs, James was focused on the shooting of Blake on Monday.

“Quite frankly it’s just f**ked up in our community,” he said. “And I said it, I know people get tired of hearing me say it but we are scared as a Black people in America. Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified.”

James, who said he saw the video, criticized the police’s handling of the incident, arguing that Blake did not need to be shot because there were other officers to help detain him. 

“There were multiple moments where if they wanted to, they could’ve tackled him. They could’ve grabbed him,” James said. “They could’ve done that. Why does it always have to get to a point where we see the guns firing and his family is there and the kids are there.”

He also questioned the mental state of the officer who shot Blake. 

Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet looks on during a coach???s challenge in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

There’s no police manual that justifies unloading a weapon at close range. There’s no protocol for shooting into a vehicle with children in it. Painting Blake, without evidence, as a threat to these officers life is victim blaming, and it’s shameful. It is, as VanVleet said, “a depreciation of life.”

“It’s just starting to feel like everything we’re doing is just going through the motions. Nothing’s changing.” Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet said when he appeared at the Raptors media availability on Monday.

VanVleet wonders if a boycott of games is necessary.

“What are we willing to give up?” VanVleet said Tuesday, suggesting his teammates talked about the possibility of a boycott. “Do we actually give a (expletive) about what’s going on? Or is it just cool to wear BLM on the backdrop or wear a T-shirt? What does that really mean? Is it really doing anything? I don’t have the answers for you today.”

The Boston Celtics who just swept the Philadelphia 76’ers on Sunday, 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 and also a possible boycott.

Boston 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.

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.

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.”

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