Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
In a virtual chat hosted by CoStar (h/t ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk), Williams said he’s “50-50” on playing again because of a fear of distracting from the calls for social justice reform and the Black Lives Matter movement:
“The point that some of the guys are raising about not playing is, basically, we don’t want to be a distraction. For us, the only benefit of us not playing is to keep the focus on the fight. And with that being said, this [return] is in six weeks. … In six weeks, the world may need some healing. They may need us to be on the floor. But if more black kids or black adults or any adults that’s dealing with police brutality are getting killed, and we are still outraged, I don’t know if it is in our best interest to suit up.”
Williams recently tweeted:
Lou Williams @TeamLou23
I never said I wasn’t gonna play. But everyday all we see on espn is NBA coming back. On cnn I see another black man killed by police last night. I don’t expect you to understand cause u don’t have a platform. So borrow mine. Say something that’ll make mom proud. Go https://t.co/QkbpHq9Ppg
Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Kyrie Irving led a call of 80-plus players last week to discuss “finding unity and a way to attack a cause amid the nationwide unrest stemming from racial injustice, systematic racism and police brutality as well as what the world continues to face during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Irving added: “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls–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.”
A number of NBA players have spoken out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement that has grown since the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, Jaylen Brown, Malcolm Brogdon and Damian Lillard were among the NBA players who have taken part in peaceful protests against police brutality.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA plans to have training camps open between July 9-11, with the regular season resuming July 30 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports resort in Orlando, Florida.