From every corner of the NBA world, current and former players and coaches have excoriated the events that occurred in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Immediate reactions on social media to the riot — in which supporters of president Donald Trump attended a rally before storming the U.S. Capitol as Congress certified the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lose to President-elect Joe Biden — eventually turned into demonstrations and comments before and after games took place.
One such person who was particularly outspoken was Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton, who used his Twitter account to, among other things, call Trump a “clown” as things were going down. And after the Kings beat Chicago, 128-124, on Wednesday evening, Haliburton spoke to the media and expanded on what he felt as he watched the scene in D.C.
Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton gives his thoughts on Wednesday's breaching of the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, the police not being held accountable in the shooting of Jacob Blake in WI & the win over the Bulls. @TyHaliburton22
— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) January 7, 2021
“Obviously what’s happening right now in our world, and what happened today in particular, is nothing but a joke,” Haliburton said. “With everything that’s going on, the losses of many African-American lives and the plight of people of color, and then for these human beings to come out and act like they’re being discriminated against because they lost a fair election, or that they have to wear masks, is a complete joke. I think, obviously, the president is not going to say anything that means anything, and our president-to-be, Joe Biden, comes out and says, ‘America, we’re better than this. This is unAmerican.’ But to be honest, I’m 20-years-old, but I feel like this is as American as it gets. I think today was, of my lifetime, probably the biggest flex of white power and white privilege that there is.”
Haliburton explained that he sat on his phone for “an hour and a half” looking for something to say in the face of all of this, but ultimately, he said he felt like he couldn’t get it all into a tweet. He then referenced another thing that occurred this week: the decision to not press charges against the police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man from Kenosha, Wisc.
“Yesterday, Jacob Blake in my home state, nothing happens,” Haliburton says. “Rusten Sheskey does not get charged for paralyzing a man, and I can’t even sit here and tell you that’s a joke, because there’s nothing funny about it. It’s just a shame, it’s just another example of this country failing African-Americans and people of color.”
The point was made by a number of individuals, including Haliburton on his Twitter account, that a major double-standard was on display in the response to Black Lives Matter protests over the summer and Wednesday’s situation in the capitol. While shows of force by police officers were both common and cheered on by the nation’s right wing as protestors demonstrated peacefully in support of racial justice and overthrowing systemic inequality, there was a far more subdued response as insurgents forced their way into the building in the name of the soon-to-be former president.