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Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach John Bryant said on Twitter that his next-door neighbor called him the N-word on Sunday.
Bryant said all he did was say “hello” to the man before the racial slur was used:
Bryant joined the Sixers staff in Aug. 2016 as a player development coach. He had previously been an assistant for the G League’s Delaware 87ers and has also served as an assistant coach for the Angolan national team.
The racist encounter Bryant faced comes at a time when protests have continued around the United States and the world condemning systemic racism and police brutality. The killings of black Americans like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd—both Taylor and Floyd were killed during encounters with police—sparked those protests.
NBA players are currently debating the merits of returning to play in late July, with some players concerned that playing basketball would distract from the protests and the need for social reform.
“I don’t support going into Orlando,” Kyrie Irving reportedly said in a call with NBA players regarding the return-to-play plan that would have 22 teams all located at the Walt Disney World Resort, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullsh-t. … Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up.”
Other players have offered varying viewpoints on the situation:
Alykhan Bijani @Rockets_Insider
Austin Rivers on Kyrie Irving, restarting the season: “I love Kyrie’s passion towards helping this movement…I’m with it…but in the right way & not at the cost of the whole NBA & players careers. We can do both. We can play & we can help change the way black lives are lived.” https://t.co/GMmyVz9nEF
It’s unknown if the players will resume the season or choose to skip it altogether.