Exactly one year ago today – on May 25, 2020 – George Floyd was murdered at the hands of a police officer sworn to protect him. His murder followed those of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others whose names never made headlines. Like many of you, we watched the horror of his murder play out on repeat as we sat stuck in our homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We were tired. We were angry. We were looking for a way to fight back.
So we came together last year. We turned the challenging experience of completing the basketball season inside “The Bubble” into a platform for players, coaches, and teams to empower our communities. We demanded change, we helped our people overcome barriers to the ballot box, we stressed the value of completing the census, and we voted in record numbers. Every night we served as a voice for the voiceless as we implored America to Say Her Name, to recognize that Black Lives Matter, and to value the dignity of every single Black life not just through words but through actions. We overcame efforts to silence those of us crying out for justice.
The election is over. The guilty verdict in the George Floyd murder trial has been returned. Our work, however, is not yet finished. Many might ask, “Aren’t you happy with the verdict in the Chauvin trial?” Our answer is, this is about much more than a verdict. This is about an entire system that continues to disrespect the dignity of and marginalize communities of color. The absence of police accountability is one glaring example.
So our fight cannot end until all people live in an America where we don’t have to anxiously endure another trial.
That’s why we’re using this moment to call for the next step in the march for justice: passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This legislation calls for comprehensive changes to policing practices that would increase police accountability and transparency nationwide. If this law becomes a reality, we can better shine a light on bad police officers who abuse our people and ban some of their most brutal tactics.
We are not policy experts but we know a measure of progress when we see one. Will passing this legislation fully end this crisis in our communities? Of course not. But it is a tangible first step that we can and should take.
There are going to be critics who tell us to shut up and dribble now that this trial is over — as if we’ve somehow eradicated these problems with a single verdict.
Newsflash: we’re not going anywhere. We’ll be raising our voices in this fight for as long as it takes to secure justice. That includes passing the legislation that bears George Floyd’s name. If you’re with us, join us. Together we can win!
The National Basketball Players Association
The Women’s National Basketball Players Association
More Than A Vote
Athletes for Impact