Reactions from both the NBA offices and the league’s players flooded out at the news former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of the murder of George Floyd.
The videotaped final moments off Floyd’s life, last May 25, sparked protests around the globe, and particularly in the NBA.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts released a joint statement almost immediately after Tuesday’s verdict.
“George Floyd’s murder was a flash point for how we look at race and justice in our country, and we are pleased that justice appears to have been served,” the statement read.
“But we also recognize that there is much work to be done and the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association, together with our newly-formed Social Justice Coalition, will redouble our efforts to advocate for meaningful change in the areas of criminal justice and policing.”
The word murder was clearly chosen deliberately. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
“Justice and Accountability! Things I never thought I would see,” tweeted Karl-Anthony Towns, who stars for Minnesota, but was born in Edison, N.J., and raised in nearby Piscataway. “There’s much more work to do, but this is an amazing start working toward the reform this country NEEDS!”
When video of Chauvin putting his knee into Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds made the rounds last May, it prompted protests. The NBA had been on pause due to COVID-19, but when the league resumed play in its bubble, teams were allowed to don social justice slogans like “Equality” on their jerseys. Black Lives Matter was painted on the court for every game.
“God is good all the time,” tweeted New York-bred Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.
“Accountability….RIP George Floyd [folded hands emoji],” tweeted Jamal Crawford, who played for the Nets in that bubble last season.
Crawford added: “But the fact we all saw what we saw last year, and STILL were nervous about if he would be held accountable, shows how far we have to go…”
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