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Hearing news of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and watching the protests that have followed since in the United States and elsewhere has been distressing for Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri.
But he is happy to talk about it. Because talking about it is a step in the right direction.
“We need to talk,” said Ujiri on Wednesday in a conversation with Rachel Nichols on ESPN The jump. “And more specifically, the white leaders. They have to talk … Let’s not hide behind it anymore. Because racism is real. It’s here. Let’s talk about it now. “
Ujiri wrote an opinion piece on Sunday in The Globe and Mail in which he encouraged leaders to speak out against racism in order to “stop this cycle”.
He also referred to an incident in the NBA finals last summer, in which he had an argument with a sheriff’s assistant as Ujiri attempted to step on the field to celebrate the decisive championship victory. Toronto against the Golden State Warriors.
“If it was another team president going to court – a white team president – would he have been arrested by this officer? I wondered that, “wrote Ujiri.
When Nichols raised the incident on Wednesday, Ujiri noted that he was growing pale over the injustices suffered by Floyd and others like him.
“It is totally irrelevant, even now,” said Ujiri. “It is not comparable. Someone lost their life.”
Ujiri went further to talk about the atrocities that are not published and the victims whose stories are not told.
“How many of these incidents are not captured on video?” He asked. “This is how I feel. How many do not have the privilege, you know? It is not seen, it will never be seen, the story will never be told. Can you imagine how many people experience this?”
That is why it is important to have conversations about race, discrimination and privileges. In Ujiri’s mind, these conversations must begin now, among all groups of people.
“Now is the time for us to speak. Now is the time for all races to talk to each other and to talk to each other … Because if we don’t, this cycle will continue. “