The Philadelphia 76ers delivered a powerful statement on Tuesday after Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict was read in Minneapolis. The franchise called it a “step toward accountability” in an official statement.
On Wednesday, veteran forward Danny Green was asked to comment on what it meant to have George Floyd’s murderer behind bars. He revealed that the Sixers talked about it as a team prior to shootaround in an emotional conversation guided by head coach Doc Rivers. The consensus was the outcome was a “big win” for the black community and the entire country, but there’s a lot more work to be done.
“It’s a win, it’s a big win, it’s huge,” Green told reporters. “I think moreso, instead of people being excited about it, I think more people feel like it’s an about damn time type of situation. But it’s a move in the right direction. We know we have a lot more to go and a lot more to improve on in our country but it’s a win and we’ll take it.”
Rivers has often relayed his own experiences with racism growing up in Chicago during the 1960s and 1970s. He was the victim of racial slurs while dating a white woman — his eventual wife, Kris — at Marquette University. The 59-year-old coach implored the team to use their celebrity voices for social justice and racial equality.
“Doc was telling us today how important it is, and how guys may think they don’t have a voice but we all have a voice,” Green said. “Hopefully, we can keep it going in that direction and keep it consistently where everybody is held accountable. So, yeah, we’re just going to continue to use our voice and hope and inspire. And speak up for those after us, those before us, and those that are here now with us, and use our voice to help make their voices louder.”
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Tobias Harris Protested Last May in Philly
Tobias Harris didn’t speak on Wednesday but he has long been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. He was one of several Philly athletes to peacefully protest last May after Floyd was killed in broad daylight by Chauvin.
The 28-year-old basketball star also pledged $100,000 to the School District of Philadelphia as part of $1 million in charitable donations to help advocate for black teachers’ roles in helping build inner-city communities. Harris shared a statistic showing that young black men with African American teachers are 40% less likely to drop out of high school, via CBS3 Philadelphia.
Green Growing Into New Leadership Role
The fact the Sixers made Green available to the media the day after the Chauvin verdict was a telling one. He has developed into a true leader on a team with serious championship aspirations. Outside of speaking up on off-the-court issues, the 33-year-old discussed his evolving role as a willing mentor to the younger guys on the court.
“I think as you get older, there’s a saying I’ve heard from people: your legs stop going as much and your mouth starts talking more,” Green said. “I feel like I’m at a point in my career where it’s something I look forward to doing. I’ve been successful at what I’ve done. I’m looking to help the next generation behind me, my younger guys, my rookies, to be better than me. I want them to be more successful than me or better than me.”