The events unfolding in Washington on Wednesday were some of the most surreal our country has ever witnessed. It was something few ever expected to see in America, as an armed horde of radical Trump supporters stormed the nation’s Capitol building with very little resistance from the security forces ostensibly put in place to protect against that type of an invasion.
It left many baffled by the response, given the way Black Lives Matter protesters around the country have been routinely met with violent aggression by police forces throughout the past year. It was the perfect encapsulation of the hypocrisy and double standard that is in place when it comes to Black Americans.
Prior to Wednesday’s games, several teams took a knee during the anthem and released statements denouncing the actions in Washington, as well as the court ruling that the officers involved in the Jacob Blake shooting would not be prosecuted. After the game, several players used their media availability to address the situation, with Boston’s Jaylen Brown invoking Dr. Martin Luther King’s iconic quote about two Americas, in which Black people are still treated as less than equal.
“In one America, you get killed by sleeping in your car, selling cigarettes or playing in your backyard. In another America, you get to storm the Capitol, and no tear gas, no massive arrests, none of that.”
Jaylen Brown addresses today’s events in Washington, D.C. pic.twitter.com/C0tshwjnCi
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 7, 2021
He was preceded earlier in the night be Bradley Beal — fresh off a career-high 60-point explosion — who condemned the lack of urgency in the response to rioters who overtook the Capitol building and forced lawmakers to flee.
Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, on the attempted coup by Trump supporters in D.C. today:
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) January 7, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was part of the Bucks and Pistons taking a knee for seven seconds after tipoff for Jacob Blake, also spoke about his fears as a parent of a Black child growing up in a country where they can be targeted, not just by other citizens, but by the police themselves, without fear of consequences.
“My kid is going to grow up here in America and my kid is Black. I cannot imagine my kid going through what I see on TV.”
Giannis on being Black in America pic.twitter.com/Rjq1sDX971
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 7, 2021
That was followed by Kyle Lowry, who in no uncertain terms called for Trump to be held directly accountable for his part in inciting the day’s events.
Lowry on Trump encouraging the scene at the Capitol: “That man is a criminal. Like, he should be charged…He basically told them to go do this, and people died.”
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) January 7, 2021
Others like Jimmy Butler, Steve Kerr, and Malcolm Brogdon likewise spoke out on how what transpired in Washington laid bare how different treatment is based on the color of one’s skin and the ideology they’re supporting.
“We see the two different USAs that we live in.”
The NBA world reacts to today's events in Washington, D.C. pic.twitter.com/nD39uXYFno
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 7, 2021
As the Heat and Celtics stated, the league’s players decided together on Wednesday that they would participate in the scheduled games, rather than sit them out in solidarity, stating their goal to bring joy to fans on one of the darkest days in the country’s history, and true to their word, they continued to use their platform to bring awareness and call for accountability. In the day’s ahead, it remains to be seen just what will come of all this, but many of the league’s stars certainly aren’t shying away from discussing yet another inflection point in American history.