George Floyd, an African-American male, was killed Monday while in custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white and knelt on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, the last 2 minutes, 53 seconds occurring after Floyd became unresponsive. Protests, both peaceful and violent, have sparked across the nation since, including Saturday in Reno. Athletes and coaches across the nation have reacted publicly to Floyd's death. On Sunday, Nevada basketball coach Steve Alford released the following statement to Nevada Sports Net about Floyd's death and institutionalized racism and social injustice in America.
"I have been at a loss for words over the past few days, and I don't know if the words I write today will adequately express my feelings, but silence is not an option. Silence in the face of injustice is what got us here. I have spent my entire life around the game of basketball, and I firmly believe in the power of sports to break down barriers and build understanding across humans of all backgrounds. However, the senseless killing of George Floyd at the hands of those sworn to protect him has brought into stark focus the reality that it remains impossible for me to walk in another man's shoes.
"I have tried to listen as much as I can, and I have heard the anguish and painfully recent familiarity that so many of my African-American brothers have with racism in our great country. Every human on the face of this Earth was created equal from the same flesh and blood, and we must pull together for the sake of our own survival. We must treat each and every human with respect, love, compassion and the understanding that although none of us are perfect, we are all created in God's image.
"Putting an end to institutionalized racism and social injustice will require all of us to look within and around ourselves, without a shred of tolerance for the tired biases and prejudices that persist today. As a country, we have drifted, and we must grow closer to God. We need to put our trust in God and know every human being is loved by God, and we are called to love everyone. My love and prayers go out to the family of George Floyd, and may he rest in peace. Let's come together as Americans as if our lives depended on trusting and loving each other.
"Galatians 5:13-14: For you are called to freedom brothers; only don't use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another thru love. For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love you neighbor as yourself."
Additionally, Nevada women's basketball coach Amanda Levens, who adopted two African-American brothers when they were 3 and 4, released a statement via her Twitter page Saturday that read:
"I’m not black, but I see & hear you.
"I’m not black, but I mourn with you.
"I’m not black, but I will fight for you.
"I’m not black, but I see injustices that you face.
"I’m not black, but I share your fear for your children.
"I’m not black, but I stand with you."