Following protests and unrest in front of their home arena — the Barclays Center — on the heels of George Floyd’s murder, the Brooklyn Nets, Long Island Nets, New York Liberty, and the Brooklyn arena released a joint statement condemning the acts of Minneapolis police, the treatment of black Americans while calling for peaceful protests.
“We mourn the senseless and devastating loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others who lost their lives because of racial bias,” the statement read. “Today, we stand up and speak up against all forms of racism — overt or subconscious — especially against the Black community. We want to say ‘Enough is Enough.'”
“Not all of us can ever be in a position to experience the personal pain, fear, and despair of Black Americans in light of the events. But our instinct tells us that the lack of respect for human life, fueled by prejudices, is simply wrong. All people, regardless of color, race, or ethnicity, deserve to be treated with human dignity and be protected from violence.”
Floyd, 46, was killed while in police custody when officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for several minutes.
The act, caught on video, went viral and sparked outrage across the United States, which led to protests — and later riots — in notable cities like Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and New York.
Thousands assembled in front of the Barclays Center on Friday where the things quickly descended into a clash with the NYPD as protesters attempted to storm the perimeter of the arena.
Per reports from amNewYork Metro’s Todd Maisel, the conflict between citizens and the police included “protesters [hurling] bottles and other debris at officers — some of whom wore riot gear — who tried to keep the crowd away from the entrance to the sports arena. There were plenty of clashes between cops and protesters caught on camera which showed pushing, shoving, and police use of pepper spray.”
While the Nets and Barclays Center sympathize with the community, they’re calling for other ways to voice their frustrations.
“Our hearts are broken by the attacks on the personal safety and dignity of the Black community. While we feel the raw emotion, we call for a peaceful response in our joint fight against racism,” the release read. “This is not the time to be vengeful. This is a time to effect change.”
Over 200 people were arrested outside the Barclays Center as agitation from both sides remains prevalent.
“We don’t pretend to have all the solutions. The organizations represented by the undersigned are committed to using our voice and platform to facilitate empathy and dialogue, to help find answers, to heal the would and pain,” the Nets said. “We will continue to work alongside our community — our fans, players, employees, and including local law enforcement — to raise awareness, push back on racial prejudice and bring out meaningful change.”