For many, Wednesday brought a feeling of relief as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated and took office in Washington D.C., with Donald Trump departing back to Florida. In the NBA, a number of players voiced their excitement to see Trump out of office and Biden in, calling it a “new day in America,” and Stephen Curry celebrated the occasion with a pair of POTUS Curry 3s he had made for Barack Obama in 2017.
However, that sense of relief also brought some trepidation for some that recognize a simple shift in power does not change the fact that the system in place still works against Black Americans and the calls for change to that system should not slow just because Biden is now the president. Celtics star wing Jaylen Brown has been among the strongest and most consistent voices, not just in 2020 but his entire career, in pushing for systematic change, and when he was asked about inauguration day, he couldn’t help but note his concern that people will take “their foot off the gas” in keeping up that fight.
More Jaylen Brown from this afternoon on continuing to fight for change: pic.twitter.com/A3UBKkYozC
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) January 21, 2021
For so much of 2020 the emphasis fell on voting. It was the rallying cry that was the easiest for large entities to back because simply saying “vote” is about as not radical of a progressive stance one can take. Now, though, comes the hard part, which is explaining to people exactly what Brown says here. The institutions that suppress and discriminate have existed for decades and centuries, not just the last four years, and have survived through every president, Republican or Democrat, no matter how progressive they’ve been. As such, Brown’s point is one that, while some will view it as pessimistic, is simply put, accurate and necessary.
What will be most interesting is to see how the league, which was happy to hop on board with the voting initiative, moves forward with their stated goal of supporting players in fighting for social and racial justice. Now, the work gets harder and pushing for institutional change isn’t as simple a message as “vote,” but you can be sure that if nothing else players like Brown will be continuing to apply that pressure and making their voices heard.