Protest marches against the death of George Floyd and racial inequality had an MVP in the ranks this weekend. As well as a teammate who understands police brutality all too well.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Sterling Brown were among a group of Milwaukee Bucks to attend a protest organized by local activist Frank Nitty in Milwaukee on Saturday, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Joining them were teammates Donte DiVincenzo, Brook Lopez, Frank Mason and Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis’ brother.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘We want justice’
Each player donned a gray “I can’t breathe” T-shirt, with masks and gloves to protect against the coronavirus pandemic. Antetokounmpo was soon addressing the crowd via megaphone.
“We want change, we want justice, and that’s why we’re out here. That’s what we’re going to do today. That’s why I’m going to march with you guys,” Antetokounmpo said. “I want my kid to grow up here in Milwaukee, and not to be scared to walk in the streets. I don’t want my kid to have hate in his heart.”
Sterling Brown protests against police with Bucks
A day later, the Bucks players were back protesting on Sunday.
Brown was seen leading chants as protesters marched, calling out “Black Lives Matter” and “No racist police.”
Sterling Brown of the Bucks is leading chants calling for “no racist police.” In 2018, Milwaukee police officers took Brown to the ground, tased and arrested him after a parking violation at a Walgreens. pic.twitter.com/EZBZeIJBzP— Rory Linnane (@RoryLinnane) June 7, 2020
Brown’s chants carry extra weight due to his much-publicized arrest for a parking ticket during his rookie year in 2018, in which five police cars were called in for backup. Footage showed Brown eventually being wrestled to the ground after refusing to take his hands out of his pockets and getting hit with a taser.
A police officer involved in the arrest has since been fired for racist social media posts, including one after the arrest in which he implied he wanted to give Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith a treatment similar to the one Brown received.
The arrest sparked an outcry and a still-pending civil rights lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee from Brown, whose father worked as a police officer in Chicago for 30 years. Brown later turned down a $400,000 settlement offer from the city, saying the message his lawsuit would send is more important than the money.
With racial inequality and police brutality now at the center of American politics, Brown’s voice is all the more powerful, especially when backed by one of the NBA’s biggest stars.
I’m proud of all the people who came out to support this movement for change with me, my teammates and my family! This is our city, these are our streets and this is bigger than basketball!— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) June 7, 2020
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