MINNEAPOLIS — Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins addressed the media about an hour earlier than authorities launched the video of Memphis police beating Tyre Nichols, however he spoke like a person who knew what was coming.
As he tried to place into phrases the feelings that he and the remainder of the Grizzlies have been feeling since 5 police have been charged within the homicide of Nichols, his message struck on the coronary heart of a group that’s so embedded in its neighborhood.
Nichols was overwhelmed on Jan. 7 and died three days later, and all 5 officers concerned have been fired. The 5 officers have been charged with second-degree homicide, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. Two of the 5 officers are anticipated to plead not responsible, according to the AP.
“Our team has sat and talked at length multiple times about what’s happened, what’s going to happen and we’ve been on the road the whole time,” Jenkins stated earlier than the Grizzlies confronted the Timberwolves within the final sport of a five-game journey. “It’s hard to grasp what our city is going through right now. We can’t wait to get back home to put our arms around everyone in Memphis as they struggle with a loss of life, a senseless loss of life.”
Jenkins stated the group has been instantly interacting with the gamers over the previous few weeks, discussing Nichols’ loss of life, how they need to reply and what the following steps will probably be. He stated they left it as much as every participant in the event that they needed to look at the video or not.
“Obviously terminations have happened, the D.A. has handed down counts of second-degree murder, but there’s so much more to be done,” Jenkins stated. “There’s so much healing that needs to be done. There’s a lot of work to be done to continue to bring our city together to move forward, to heal.”
Jenkins stated he was notably moved by a CNN interview with Nichols’ household, the emotion in his mom’s voice and the duty he felt in seeing Nichols’ stepfather sporting a Grizzlies hat.
“It just reminded me, it’s going to remind our players, our staff, obviously of the opportunity we have to continue to be a beacon of hope for our city,” Jenkins stated.
The Grizzlies took the court docket earlier than the sport sporting their regular warmup shirts and pants over their uniforms. They all stood for the nationwide anthem and gave no overt indicators of protest. Hip-hop music was turned up of their locker room earlier than the sport and, for probably the most half, the Grizzlies gave the impression to be engaged and prepared for the beginning of the sport.
To the Nichols household, my teammates and I are and have been paying consideration. We are with you.
To Memphis, we’re hurting, too.
Peaceful protest, supporting the household, pushing for accountability are what’s wanted on this second. 🤎
— JJJ (@jarenjacksonjr) January 27, 2023
The timing of the video’s release was eerie. Not solely did it occur half-hour earlier than the Grizzlies tipped off, but it surely additionally occurred whereas they have been in Minneapolis, the place the Minneapolis Police homicide of George Floyd in 2020 ignited protests, demonstrations and rioting regionally and nationally and a worldwide reckoning with the remedy of individuals of colour by legislation enforcement.
Grizzlies level guard Tyus Jones and rookie ahead David Roddy are from Minneapolis, and Jenkins stated the 2 of them have helped lead discussions with the group given their deep connections to such an identical incident.
“They’ve been leaders in the conversations having gone through it on how we’ve gotta be leaders throughout this,” Jenkins stated. “It’s not easy, whatsoever. We’re here again. There’s definitely been leaning on a lot of support systems. This has obviously happened in our home in Memphis, in our community, but sadly this happens nationwide and we’re leaning on a lot of people nationwide to help us get through this.”
Jenkins stated the Grizzlies teaching employees has been in touch with their friends on the Timberwolves. He declined to debate the specifics of the conversations, however the Wolves employees has a singular perspective on what it’s like to assist a group navigate the heart-wrenching days and weeks following such a tragedy. Members of the Grizzlies and Timberwolves govt employees additionally had discussions about how the Wolves group reacted, engaged locally and tried to result in therapeutic and alter following Floyd’s homicide.
“Obviously we have a job to do. It’s an important job for our city, representing, putting the name Memphis over the front of our jersey is important,” Jenkins stated. “Everyone knows that responsibility. But it goes beyond basketball. That’s what we’re continuing to grapple and cope with and try to figure out.”
The Timberwolves held a second of silence earlier than the sport. Also on Friday, the Milwaukee Bucks launched a press release concerning Nichols.
“We are outraged by the deadly beating that Tyre Nichols received from five Memphis police officers,” the assertion stated. “While the police officers being charged for their heinous actions is an important step for justice, this incident further highlights the need for progress in improving police-community relations.”
(Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski / USA Today)