In describing recent events of “police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism” as “shameful, inhumane and intolerable,” the National Basketball Coaches Association has established a committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities.
Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale and Stan Van Gundy — some of the profession’s most thoughtful and consistent voices on social issues in the sport — were among the coaches selected to a committee that helped craft a forcefully worded denouncement of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis and the greater pattern of violence and intolerance toward African Americans in the United States.
After the league’s 30 head coaches participated in a Zoom call Saturday and several participated in a committee meeting Sunday, NBCA president Rick Carlisle and executive director David Fogel told ESPN that the NBCA is planning a Tuesday call to discuss how they can begin immediate action items across the league’s cities.
The statement read, in part: “As NBA coaches — both head and assistant coaches — we lead groups of men, most of whom are African American, and we see, hear and share their feelings of disgust, frustration, helplessness and anger. The events of the past few weeks — police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism — are shameful, inhumane and intolerable.
“As a diverse group of leaders, we have a responsibility to stand up and speak out for those who don’t have a voice — and to stand up and speak out for those who don’t feel it is safe to do so.
“Witnessing the murder of George Floyd in cold blood and in broad daylight has traumatized our nation, but the reality is that African Americans are targeted and victimized on a daily basis. As NBA coaches, we cannot treat this as an isolated incident of outrage.
“We are committed to working in our NBA cities with local leaders, officials and law enforcement agencies to create positive change in our communities. We have the power and platform to affect change, and we will use it.”
Beyond Popovich, Kerr, Pierce, Fizdale and Van Gundy, the committee includes Cleveland’s JB Bickerstaff and Utah’s Quin Snyder.
Pierce played a leadership role in the NBCA’s weekend dialogue and has shown a determination to encourage the entire roster of coaches — not just those traditionally speaking on issues of race and equality — to be part of a movement of voice and action within the profession’s ranks.
The NBCA’s statement included the signatures of 33 current and former head coaches and nearly 180 assistants.