Doc Rivers Speaks on Jacob Blake Shooting: 'This Country Does Not Love Us Back'

August 26, 2020
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After the wrongful killing of George Floyd, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers released a passionate statement on Twitter regarding the state of our nation, his own experiences with racism, and his thoughts on the ensuing protests that erupted across the country.

"Being black in America is tough," Rivers wrote. "I've personally been called more racial slurs than I can count, been pulled over many times because of the color of my skin, and even had my home burned down. The response we are seeing across the nation, to the murder of George Floyd, is decades in the making...

"This isn't an African-American issue. This is a human issue."

Nearly three months later, the 58-year-old coach and the rest of the country were faced with another act of police brutality that rightfully spurred outrage throughout the world of sports and the nation as a whole. 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot in the back outside of his car, and after the video surfaced on Sunday night, stars from LeBron James to Aaron Rodgers gave their takes on the issue.

And on Tuesday night, following a playoff victory, Rivers shared his impassioned thoughts on the disturbing lack of progress and the continual racism that runs rampant throughout America.

"It's just so sad," Rivers said. "You know... what stands out to me is, just watching the Republican convention, and they're spewing this fear, right? Like, all you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We're the ones getting killed. We're the ones getting shot. We're the ones that were denied to live in certain communities. We've been hung, we've been shot, and all you do is keep hearing about fear."

It was at this point that Rivers began to get choked up, his voice cracking with emotion.

"It's amazing to me why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back," Rivers said. "It's really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. And I'm so often reminded of my color, you know? It's just really sad, we got to do better. But we got to demand better."

Rivers outlined some demands that are necessary for the much-needed change in our country.

"We protest and they send riot guards," Rivers said. "They send people in riot outfits. They go up to Michigan with guns and they're spitting on cops, and nothing happens. The training has to change in the police force. The unions have to be taken down in the police force. My dad was a cop. I believe in good cops. We're not trying to defund the police and take all their money away, we're trying to get them to protect us, just like they protect everybody else.

"That video... if you watch that video, you don't need to be Black to be outraged. You need to be American and outraged. And how dare the Republicans talk about fear -- we're the ones that need to be scared. We're the ones having to talk to every Black child. What white father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over? It's just ridiculous, and it just keeps going. There's no charges. Breonna Taylor, no charges, nothing.

"All we're asking is you live up to the constitution. That's all we're asking. For everybody, for everyone."

Warriors guard Stephen Curry retweeted Rivers' speech, saying that he's "proud to know" the coach and that everything he says rings the important truth.

Curry wasn't alone in showing his support of what Rivers shared.

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet -- who, similarly to Rivers, had a police officer in the family (his stepfather, Joe Danforth) -- spoke out on his thoughts regarding the Jacob Blake shooting and the realistic possibility of opting not to play in Game 1 against the Celtics as a result.

"We knew coming here or not coming here was not going to stop anything, but I think ultimately playing or not playing puts pressure on somebody," VanVleet said on Tuesday (via Malika Andrews and Tim Bontemps of ESPN). "...at the end of the day, if we're gonna sit here and talk about making change, then at some point we're gonna have to put our nuts on the line and actually put something up to lose, rather than just our money or visibility. I'm just over the media aspect of it. It's sensationalized, we talk about it every day, that's all we see, but if just feels like a big pacifier to me."

Rivers isn't quite in the same mindset, though he respects VanVleet's opinion and his goals in potentially boycotting a game.

“We can fight for justice, but we still should do our jobs," Rivers said (via Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports). "I really believe that. Because doing our jobs, people are seeing excellence from Americans, Black Americans and white Americans. So I would still do my job, that’s just my opinion. But if my players told me no, it’d be no. I can tell you that.”

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