George Floyd murder: Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens says empathy means more than basketball right now

As protests rage in several US cities following the death of George Floyd, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes the best way he can be helpful to his players right now is by listening to them.

The Associated Press June 03, 2020 20:12:51 IST
George Floyd murder: Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens says empathy means more than basketball right now

Boston: Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes the best way he can be helpful to his players right now is by listening to them.

George Floyd murder Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens says empathy means more than basketball right now

File photo of Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens. AP Photo

Boston players including Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier have been among several NBA players to participate in recent protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis last month after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck as he begged for air.

Demonstrations have taken place in cities around the country in response to the incident, which was captured in a widely seen video that has mobilised protesters. A medical examiner ruled on Monday that Floyd’s heart stopped as police restrained him and compressed his neck.

It all prompted Stevens to write a letter to his players over the weekend in which he expressed his support for them.

“I think the thing that I wanted them to know is that every decent person is hurting,” Stevens said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “Every decent person feels the pain of the African American community. But I also don’t want to pretend like I know the exact, distinct pain. So what I wanted them to know is that I’m with them.”

The Celtics were among several professional sports teams to issue statements in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, saying in part that it and other similar incidents “have left the entire Celtics organisation struggling with grief and anger.”

The resulting national dialogue has reminded Stevens of the discussions he had with players prior to the 2016-17 season during the height of Colin Kaepernick’s protests when he took a knee during the national anthem prior to NFL games to protest police brutality. Stevens said those protests prompted players to share their own experiences with racial profiling and discrimination.

Brown, who grew up outside of Atlanta, drove 15 hours from Boston to lead a march in Atlanta on Sunday.

It’s the kind of action Steven has come to expect from the 23-year-old.

“I’m not surprised with him taking a leadership role," Stevens said. "That’s who he is.”

Floyd’s death and the resulting demonstrations come at a time during which NBA leadership is trying to formulate a plan to possibly resume the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stevens said the proposals are promising, but that most talk about basketball has taken a backseat in recent days.

Several Celtics players did begin to take part in voluntary, individual workouts at the team’s practice facility Monday. The team is also having regular meetings via video conferencing.

But Stevens said they have mostly been focusing on the mental well-being of athletes since the start of the pandemic and that’s continued during the demonstrations.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

'Beautiful' to have a pint, 'brilliant' to get a haircut: England reopens after lockdown
World

'Beautiful' to have a pint, 'brilliant' to get a haircut: England reopens after lockdown

People relished their first pub drinks in more than three months, went to restaurants and finally got haircuts on Saturday as England took its biggest steps yet towards resumption of normal life after the coronavirus lockdown

COVID-19 treatment: China approves human testing for potential vaccine developed by local company Chongqing Zhifei
World

COVID-19 treatment: China approves human testing for potential vaccine developed by local company Chongqing Zhifei

The potential COVID-19 vaccine, co-developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical and the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has received a certificate from the National Medical Products Administration to launch clinical trials.

Coronavirus Updates: Delhi overtakes Mumbai as worst-hit city after COVID-19 tally crosses 70,000
India

Coronavirus Updates: Delhi overtakes Mumbai as worst-hit city after COVID-19 tally crosses 70,000

Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: COVID-19 cases crossed 70,000-mark in Delhi with 3,788 new cases in the last 24 hours. Death toll at 2,365. Out of the total, 26,588 are active cases and 41,437 people have recovered.