Emotional Rivers delivers powerful speech on Blake shooting

By Tom Webber 26 August 2020 5
Emotional Rivers delivers powerful speech on Blake shooting

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers delivered an emotional response to a question about the shooting of Jacob Blake, which has led to further protests against racial injustice in the United States.

Blake was shot several times by a police officer as he got into a car in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Footage of the incident was shared on social media and Blake's family says he has been left paralysed from the waist down.

Since the NBA restarted in its Orlando bubble last month, players have taken a knee during the national anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and were given the option to place a social justice message on the back of their jerseys.

Those moves were made in response to the killing of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis in May after a police officer knelt on his neck for seven minutes and 46 seconds.

Rivers said prior to the Clippers' 154-111 victory over Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday he would answer questions on the shooting of Blake after the Game 5 encounter.

When he addressed the media about the incident, Rivers delivered a powerful statement as his eyes welled up and his voice cracked with emotion.

"It's just so sad. What stands out to me is, just watching the Republican Convention and they're spewing this fear," he said as he took off his face mask.

"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 are denied to live in certain communities. We've been hung. We've been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear.

"It's amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back. It's just really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. I'm so often reminded of my colour. It's just really sad. We've got to do better. But we got to demand better.

"It's funny. We protest and they send riot guards. 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.

"I didn't want to talk about it before the game because it's so hard to just keep watching that. If you watch that video, you don't need to be black to be outraged. You need to be American and outraged.

"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 [who was shot when police entered her flat in March], no charges, nothing. All we're asking is you live up to the constituion - that's all we're asking - for everybody, for everyone."

Following the Utah Jazz's 117-107 loss to Denver Nuggets in Game 5 on Tuesday, Jazz star Donovan Mitchell branded the shooting of Blake "inexcusable" and "disgusting".

"A lot of times where we say we don't feel safe, it doesn't matter how much money, it doesn't matter who you are," Mitchell said.

"The common excuse is, 'He shouldn't have walked away; he shouldn't have not listened to the cops.' He doesn't deserve to be shot in the back, shot seven times. That's inexcusable.

"The point of us coming down here [to Orlando] was to create change, and I feel that we're doing a good job of that, but not good enough. It's obviously not going to happen overnight, but it's disgusting.

"I really don't know how else to describe it as an African American male. When does it stop? When do we feel comfortable? When do we feel safe?

"I just want this s*** to stop, to be completely honest with you."

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Tom Webber

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