Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey called for change and unity in a statement issued Saturday, amid country-wide protests following the death of George Floyd earlier this week.
Casey, 62, recalled his own experience as an 8-year-old in Kentucky when schools were desegregated, saying he remembers feeling helpless, "as if I was neither seen, nor heard, nor understood." He said he believes that feeling persists.
"The injustices continue to mount and nothing seems to be changing," Casey said, in part, in his statement. "Fifty-four years later, my son is now eight years old and I look at the world he is growing up in and wonder, how much has really changed? How often is he judged on sight? Is he growing up in a world where he is seen, and heard, and understood? Does he feel helpless?
"Will he be treated like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery? What have we really done in the last 54 years to make his eight-year-old world better than mine was? We all have to be and do better.
"We have to change the way we see and hear each other. We have to work together to find solutions to make the justice system just. Black, white and brown people have to work together to find new answers. The only way we can stop the systemic problems that people of color have faced all our lives is through honesty and transparency. We have to understand why people are at their limit at this moment. It takes empathy, in its truest form. It takes a culture shift, it takes action. Let's stop the injustice now. Let's not allow another generation to continue to live in a world where they are treated as unequal. Now is the time for real change."
Floyd, who is black, died while in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday, leading to murder and manslaughter charges against officer Derek Chauvin, who is white. Fervent protests have emerged in dozens of cities across the nation this week, including several leading to riots in Minneapolis, where the city's 3rd Precinct burned down on Thursday night.
Casey was the Minnesota Timberwolves' head coach from 2005-07. He grew up in Kentucky, going to high school in Morganfield and playing at the University of Kentucky from 1975-79.
--Field Level Media