As demonstrations against police brutality carry on nationwide, NBA players refusing to “shut up and dribble” have joined the ranks of protesters.
On Wednesday, Golden State Warriors’ Juan Toscano-Anderson led a march in his native Oakland. Splash Bros. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as well as hundreds of other protesters joined the Mexican-American shooting guard to make their voices heard. Curry and his wife Ayesha wore black face-masks and T-shirts with the march’s emblem: “Through This Together.”
That afternoon, the murder charge on the now-fired Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin was raised from third to second-degree following two independent autopsies on the body of George Floyd, declaring he died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure.” The three other officers involved in the killing—Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kuen and Tou Thao—were also charged in the case.
Toscano-Anderson spoke multiple times through the march, sometimes with a fist raised. “I go hard for my people whether they’re Mexican or Black… I go hard for women as well,” he said through a megaphone.
The 27-year-old Mexican League MVP in 2018 has been vocal on social media and unfettered in his responses to followers, checking those who are focused on the wrong problems.
In Los Angeles, Lakers’ Danny Green joined protests downtown. Others traveled to march. While Boston Celtic Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours to native Georgia to join protests, Kyrie Irving crossed the East and Hudson Rivers to his New Jersey hometown to march.
In 2019, NBA’s commissioner Adam Silver said being socially conscious is “part of the culture of the league” and defended it as far as his business.
Not all US athletes have had the same supportive response, though. In an interview with Yahoo! Finance, the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Lebron James showed no deference in his response to Brees. “You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee??” James wrote.
The NBA is set to resume play on July 31st.