The tragedy that happened to Tyre Nichols has affected the country swiftly as police brutality claimed another victim of color. The incident that occurred in Memphis, Tennessee, polarized the nation, and sports stars in Memphis and nationwide have expressed their opinions about the latest murder of an unarmed Black man at the hands of police.
“The senseless loss of life for Tyre Nichols has really hit us hard,” Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said to Bally Sports in a pregame interview from Minnesota. “It’s been tough being on the road, not being home. I wish I could extend my arms through this camera right now to the family. They’re going through a lot.”
Jenkins admitted he cried after watching Tyre Nichols’ mother’s televised interview on Friday about her son’s death. He elaborated further after Memphis’ 111-100 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“There’s way harder things on in the city versus what’s going on with our basketball right now,” Jenkins continued. “I’m proud of our guys going out there. We’re playing with heavy hearts, but we’re also playing for our city that’s going through a lot right now.”
#TyreNichols family asked this be the video we share of him.
Watch it & know Tyre, like all our loved ones, deserved to live a long beautiful life free from state sanctioned murder. For Black & brown folks around the US, police violence is the greatest threat to that future. https://t.co/hT15Emss8T
— Tiffany Cabán (@tiffany_caban) January 27, 2023
The Sports Reaction
The NBA world reacted en masse, with many teams releasing statements.
“The images of Tyre Nichols’ life needlessly cut short are horrifying,” the NBA said a few hours after the video of Nichols’ brutal beating was released. “While there have been steps toward accountability in this instance, the NBA family remains committed to partnering with advocates, policymakers and law enforcement to work toward solutions to the issues we continue to face.”
The Milwaukee Bucks also made a statement.
“We are outraged by the deadly beating that Tyre Nichols received from five Memphis police officers,” the Bucks statement said. “While the police officers being charged for their heinous actions is an important step for justice, this incident further highlights the need for progress in improving police-community relations.”
The NBPA expressed their frustrations with law enforcement and support for the decision to arrest the offending officers.
“Our hearts go out to the entire Memphis community as they are processing and dealing with this horrible tragedy, and we stand by the rightful arrest of all officers involved,” the NBPA said. “Such aggressive policing and excessive force illustrate the continued need for accountability in the justice system.”
The King’s Opinion
LeBron James left a cryptic and culturally judgmental tweet in his angst and frustration.
WE ARE OUR OWN WORSE ENEMY!!!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 28, 2023
“WE ARE OUR OWN WORSE ENEMY!!!” James tweeted.
The officers, seen beating Nichols on police surveillance video and body cam footage, were all Black and now face second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression charges. The problem with James’ tweet is that it has no context and makes a blanket statement about how Black people treat one another. The assumption of a monolithic people prone to acting like enemies is blatantly wrong and disproven by James’ actions with his friends turned business partners like Maverick Carter and Rich Paul.
Emotions are high and charged, as witnessed by the protests in cities like New York, and everyone wants to know one thing: when will it stop?