NBA Teams Speak Out About Tire Nichols’ Death

Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins watched a television interview on Friday about Tire Nichols’ mother talking about losing her son and losing control of her emotions.

“I cried,” Jenkins said.

Outrage, frustration, sadness and anger were evident throughout the NBA on Friday, the day that video was released showing Nichols, a 29-year-old father, being killed by five Memphis police officers. . Several teams have issued statements in support of the family, as has the National Basketball Players Association.

And the emotions surrounding the tournament are palpable, as has been the case many times after so many other incidents of police violence against Black men and women in recent years.

“This is crazy,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who opened Friday’s pre-match press conference by talking about Nichols before any questions were asked.

The officers, who are also Black, all face charges of second-degree murder, as well as aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and oppression of an official. . And the Grizzlies played a game in Minneapolis – the city where George Floyd, a Black man, was killed after a white police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck in an act that sparked protests. around the world about police brutality and racism – on Friday night with a heavy heart.

“The senseless death of Tire Nichols has really hit us hard,” Jenkins told Bally Sports, the Grizzlies’ broadcast partner, in a pre-match interview from Minnesota. “It’s tough being on the road and not at home. I wish I could put my arms around this camera right now with my family. They’re going through so much.”

There was a moment of silence before the game in Minnesota. Several teams, including Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland, Minnesota and Milwaukee, have issued statements.

“We are outraged by the fatal beating that Tire Nichols received from five Memphis police officers,” the Bucks said in their statement. “While being charged with police officers for their atrocities is an important step towards justice, this incident further highlights the need to make progress in improving relations.” between the police and the community.”

Nichols was on his way home from taking pictures of the sky on January 7 when he was stopped by police. He’s just minutes from the house he shares with his mother and stepfather.

Video of the murder was released on Friday night. It’s unclear if the Grizzlies watched their pre-match video.

“Our hearts go out to the entire Memphis community as they process and respond to this terrible tragedy, and we support the lawful arrest of all the officers involved,” the NBPA said. “. “Such aggressive policy and excessive force illustrate the continuing need for accountability in the justice system.”

The union said it will “continue to monitor the investigation and legal proceedings to seek justice for Tire and his family.”

Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, warned supporters about the “horrible” nature of the video but pleaded for peace.

Jenkins also said he hopes the citizens of Memphis rally together.

“My words will only mean so much,” Jenkins said. “I want to continue to encourage people to put their arms around each other, put their arms around the Nichols family, the Wells family to remember the beautiful life in Tire Nichols – people I didn’t know, but I was looking for. understanding of. “

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