The year 2020 has, in many ways, been defined almost as much for widespread social unrest as the worldwide pandemic that has upended daily life. For months now, protesters have taken to the streets to demand justice for the countless unarmed black citizens killed by police.
Their names have become rallying cries. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are just a few of the victims who have been front and center in the fight for reform. Taylor, in particular, has become a focal point as until just recently, none of the officers involved in her death had been charged with a crime.
On Wednesday, the Kentucky attorney general announced that just one of the officers, Sgt. Brett Hankison, would be charged with “wanton endangerment,” prompting outrage and disappointment from the NBA and WNBA world, who believe the charges don’t go nearly far enough to bring justice.
The NBA Countdown crew also took a moment to reflect on the development, led by Maria Taylor, who said that despite the highly-emotional nature of the moment, the NBA and those who cover it would press on and do their jobs and use their platform to continue bringing greater awareness to these issues.
“Our reality, in the face of injustice, is we are expected to not only show up but to perform. And like every athlete that takes the court tonight we will do it with Breonna Taylor’s family in our hearts and in our prayers.” – @MariaTaylor pic.twitter.com/2KL0LRG9mC
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) September 23, 2020
Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon also used a segment on SportsCenter to discuss this latest development, with Wilbon saying that he wasn’t surprised by the news, but ending on a hopeful note, reminding viewers that the fight for justice is a marathon and not a sprint.
“I’ve got several reactions … The first one is — I’m not surprised. Part of our outrage about this is, this isn’t the first time.”@RealMikeWilbon and @stephenasmith discuss the grand jury’s decision made in Breonna Taylor’s case: pic.twitter.com/RYnhyb7Wl7
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 23, 2020
Smith also closed the show with a powerful statement.
My closing remarks. pic.twitter.com/R5PHVpMNcP
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 24, 2020
The NBA, together with the owners and players’ association, has created a social justice campaign that is designed to raise funds and educate the public about the ongoing fight for equality, and we will continue to see the basketball world use their voice and influence to enact change throughout the postseason and beyond.