by Justin Lyons
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics wing, in a press conference Sunday said he would like to see the city of Boston pass the George Floyd bill.
Brown, who has been one of the more active players in social justice conversations throughout the NBA, was asked about the Celtics’ commitment to spend $25 million over the next ten years to fight social injustice.
He said it was a great step, and that change happens over a period of time, but he thinks there are things that can be catalysts for change right now.
“One thing I would like to see in Boston is the George Floyd bill enacted,” Brown said, adding that conversations need to be had about police and qualified immunity. “Some things just need to be held accountable, and hopefully Boston can be a place where a tone is set that can be transpired in other cities.”
Brown went on to say that he thinks Boston is moving in the right direction, but he would still like to see more companies and organizations be diversified as well as more opportunities for people of color.
“I’m proud to be a part of the Celtics organization. I’m proud to have an ownership group, or a leadership group, that’s willing to take these steps because they recognize that we need to live in a better, more forward progressing world.”
The George Floyd bill, or H.R.7120, aims to achieve a few goals.
First, it would lower the criminal intent standard to convict an officer of law enforcement. The standard currently requires that officers act willfully, while H.R.7120 would only necessitate that officers act knowingly or recklessly.
Second, it would limit qualified immunity, which grants officers immunity in lawsuits regarding violations of constitutional rights of civilians.
Third, it would allow the Department of Justice to issue authorizations to investigate departments demonstrating patterns of discriminatory practices.
It would also create a national registry of police misconduct, lay the bricks for prohibition of racial profiling and implement new standards for training regarding racial profiling and use of body cameras.
It passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 236-181, and it will move to the Senate.
Brown’s comments come just weeks after NBA players boycotted games on behalf of Jacob Blake, whom was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and victims of police brutality everywhere.
A reporter asked Brown if he thought the boycott’s message was still effective even as players returned to the court.
“These issues have been here for a very, very long time, and they’re still going to be here regardless of if we protest or not or boycott or not. I think sports plays a huge role in society, and I’m very aware of that, so using our platform is something I’m always going to support,” Brown answered.
While he said the cure for racism might not come from the NBA, the players can always use their platform to let the world know that these issues are important.
Brown, who wears the word “Liberation” on the back of his jersey, scored 21 points and picked up eight rebounds to help the Celtics defeat the Toronto Raptors Friday by a score of 92-87. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where they will meet up with the Miami Heat, who are playing on six days of rest after eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks in just five games.
The first game of the series begins Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. EST with the Celtics favored by a point and a half.