Now that a grand jury in Kentucky has indicted one of the three Louisville police officers involved in the shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor on a lesser charge, sports figures are starting to express their opinions.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr called the ruling “demoralizing” and “discouraging,” saying, “I just keep thinking about the generation of American kids of any color. Is this way the way we want to raise them? Is this the country we want to live in?”
The NBA and WNBA have mentioned Taylor prominently in calling for social justice reform on social media and on signage inside their competition bubbles in Florida.
James Wade, head coach and general manager of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, said the decision — which failed to mention Taylor and did not charge the other two officers in the shooting — was “really bad,” adding, “I don’t understand what we stand for and why life doesn’t mean anything.”
The only charges handed down by the grand jury were for wanton endangerment related to former detective Brett Hankison shooting into an apartment next door to Taylor’s. The other two officers’ use of force was justified, state Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at a news conference.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green called the decision “a disappointment.”
“I think we’re being heard, but obviously the goals that we’re trying to achieve we’re very far away from after seeing today’s verdict,” Green told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “Seems like every time we turn around and look at the news, it’s always something disheartening or disappointing, and that’s from all standpoints of what’s going on in our country.”
From the NFL, Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson said the fact that no officers were charged directly in Taylor’s death showed “exactly the systemic rot that people are protesting for.” He added: “Angry doesn’t even come close to how im feeling.”
“It’s just a testament to why people are marching, protesting, fighting and why the importance of the election has increased,” Pierce said. “So yeah, there was a grand jury. Yeah, they went through the information. And yeah, they have the facts to support whatever the claims may be.
“But that doesn’t provide any justice for those on the outside and those that feel that police and law enforcement should be there to protect them, regardless of what the laws are. That’s what the fight is about.”
Former Louisville basketball star Donovan Mitchell, now with the Utah Jazz, tweeted that he’s “praying for the city of Louisville right now!!!”
Meanwhile, the Lakers’ Green said he and other NBA players aren’t going to lose hope that meaningful change is stipossible.
“We feel like we’ve taken a step back, that we haven’t made the progress we were seeking. Our voices aren’t being heard loud enough. But we’re not going to stop,” Green said. “We’re going to continue. We’re going to continue fighting, we’re going to continue to push, we’re going to continue to use our voices.”
Contributing: Mark Medina, Jeff Zillgitt