The latest fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, killed by police in Minnesota on Sunday, has sparked more outrage, sadness, and protest, and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is again joining the conversation.
Prior to Monday night’s road win over the Dallas Mavericks, Rivers spoke about Sunday afternoon’s incident, which happened in Brooklyn Center – a suburb of Minneapolis – and resulted in the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. According to a press release from the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Wright was pulled over just before 2 p.m. for having expired tags on his vehicle.
During the traffic stop, police said Wright began to drive away and an officer – now identified as Kim Potter – opened fire and struck Wright, who drove another several blocks before crashing. Body camera video released on Monday, showed Potter shooting Wright once, when she thought she was using her Taser.
“I think we have to stop saying it’s frustrating for all Black Americans,” Rivers said. “I think we should be frustrated for all Americans. I don’t know if it was a mistake or not. I saw the body cam video like everyone else, but I know that frustration is a real thing for everybody and for us.”
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During a press conference Monday, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said he believes Potter mistakenly fired her gun thinking she was using her Taser. She was placed on administrative leave on Monday and both she and Gannon resigned from their posts on Tuesday.
“You keep hearing this cancel culture stuff, but we’re canceling Black lives,” Rivers said on Monday. “To me, that’s a little more important in my opinion, and it just keeps happening. We keep making mistakes by killing Black people. I don’t want to get to race, but it’s there. I think we all have weaknesses, and we all need to confront them and find out how we can make this place a better world and a better country. To me (it’s) improving our culture as a society that is really important. Not canceling it, but improving it.”
Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich Speaks on Shooting Monday Night
Along with Rivers and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, one of the more outspoken lead men in the NBA during the modern era of civil unrest has been San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. The five-time NBA champion spoke with media members about the latest incident prior to the Spurs win over the Orlando Magic on Monday.
“It just makes you sick to your stomach. How many times does it have to happen?” Popovich said. “As sick to our stomachs that we might feel, that individual is dead. He’s dead. And his family is grieving. And his friends are grieving. And we just keep moving on as if nothing is happening.”
Rivers Had Memorable, Emotional Interview After Jacob Blake Shooting
Last summer during the NBA playoffs, Rivers – then the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers – had a memorable, emotional interview with reporters in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back,” Rivers said following the incident last August. “It’s really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. I’m so often reminded of my color. It’s just really sad. We got to do better. But we got to demand better.”