NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to the league’s staffers Sunday night to address the latest racial tensions in the country, sparked most recently by the death last week of a black man who was in handcuffs when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.
Silver’s memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, made reference to that Minneapolis man, George Floyd — as well as Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man chased and killed by armed white men as he jogged through a south Georgia neighbourhood, and Breonna Taylor, a black emergency medical worker who was fatally shot by police serving a narcotics search warrant in Kentucky.
“Just as we are fighting a pandemic, which is impacting communities and people of colour more than anyone else, we are being reminded that there are wounds in our country that have never healed,” Silver wrote in the memo.
Silver told staff in the memo that he spent the weekend watching the coverage of protests around the country, adding that he was “heartened by the many members of the NBA and WNBA family … speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change.”
He also urged league office employees to participate in what’s called the Dream In Color virtual community conversation — an internal employee resource group focused on African-Americans and the issues they face.
“This moment also requires greater introspection from those of us, including me, who may never know the full pain and fear many of our colleagues and players experience every day,” Silver wrote. “We have to reach out, listen to each other and work together to be part of the solution. And as an organization, we need to do everything in our power to make a meaningful difference. Even in this sad and difficult time, I know we can.”