If not now, then when?
What do we have to do as Black people to be treated equally and see justice served? Why whenever a Black person is pulled over by the cops, the first reaction is to shoot, but with white people, they get to discuss before they are arrested? What happened to listen first, then shoot? For Black people, in the world we live in it’s a shoot-first reaction.
Over the course of the last three days, the NBA and their players have been very outspoken about the social injustice that Black people face on a daily basis. They have urged the president, political leaders, police departments and others in power to make changes that make everyone, including Black people, equal.
On Aug. 23, police responded to what they thought was a domestic dispute between a man and a woman, according to CNN reports. Multiple reports state that 29-year-old Jacob Blake was breaking up a fight between two women and decided to leave the scene.
As Blake exited the scene, he was met with officers Rusten Sheskey and Vincent Arenas, where a confrontation broke out, causing a scuffle that ended with both officers deploying their tasers. Blake got up after being put in a headlock and walked around the SUV to leave when Officer Sheskey grabbed his white t-shirt and fired off seven shots to his back at close range.
Various videos showed this graphic and disturbing attack from the officers as well as Blake with his three kids in the car. The country went into a frenzy for yet another case of police brutality against an unarmed Black man was captured on camera.
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said it perfectly. “This is a human issue. Our society must start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation and do the right thing. Silence and inactivity are not acceptable anymore. Now is the time to speak,” said Rivers.
Two days after the incident, the Milwaukee Bucks decided as a team that enough was enough and boycotted their NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic, a major decision as the Bucks were one game away from advancing to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
A few hours later, the rest of the NBA’s Wednesday games were postponed as multiple teams sat out as an act of unity to bring attention to the social injustice.
Within hours, this act spread across the sports world, as teams and players from MLB, WNBA, MLS, tennis and NFL canceled practice and games to show their support and solidarity to this cause.
Twitter flooded with athletes across different sports voicing their frustration about how Black people are treated in police interactions.
In May, the world witnessed the horrific incident with George Floyd and the Minneapolis Police Department. Floyd cried out “I can’t breathe” while a white officer rested his knee on his neck for over eight minutes before he died.
Months earlier in March, EMT officer Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment while she was asleep. Police entered the wrong apartment with a no-knock search warrant and shot her eight times before killing Taylor and injuring her boyfriend, while the suspect was already in custody. The officers from the incident have yet to receive any criminal charges.
NFL coach Pete Carroll said it best.
"Black people can't scream anymore, they can't march anymore, they can't bear their souls anymore to what they've lived with for hundreds of years… This is a humanity issue we're dealing with… start loving everybody that is part of our country, and that want to our country, wherever they want to come from,” Carroll said.
The phrases “enough is enough” and “Black lives matter” are what stems from these ongoing issues of police brutality. How can Black people look to the police in times of need when they are the ones that continue to kill them? For most Black people, they feel unsafe in the country they call home.
America needs to change. If not now, then when?