MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Heat star Udonis Haslem is once again lending his voice to support change to fight social injustice.

The Miami native joined Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and other community leaders on Sunday before protesters began their march through the streets of downtown Miami following the death of George Floyd, black man in Minnesota who was in police custody.

Haslem voiced his support of the protests, but did express his concern with how violence could cloud the message.

“There definitely has to be justice for George,” Haslem said. “There definitely has to be protests for what happened to George. But I’d be lying if I said that it’s been going about the right way. I’d be lying if I said that I’m proud of what’s really been going on. I have an obligation to this community, because this community has done so much for me. But I also have an obligation to the police department, as well.”

Miami Heat basketball player Udonis Haslem speaks during a news conference with the mayor of Miami and community leaders, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Haslem has family in law enforcement and voiced his concern for those on the frontlines.

“They work, they take care of people, they make sure people are safe. There’s got to be a better way,” he said.

Haslem knows his community is in pain.

It’s a tough line to tow for him. But he wants to make sure people know he supports those in uniform.

“I stand here right now confused, torn, frustrated. I wasn’t even supposed to be here,” he said.

But there he was, wearing his heart on his sleeve and imploring people not to stereotype the police.

“I can’t say we can blame the whole armed force and everyone that wears a badge,” he said. “There ain’t no way because I know at least 50 or 60 of them that I know personally that would’ve stepped in right then and there.”

You could hear in Haslem’s voice and words he was looking for answers.

“I just want to be part of the solution. I just want to be part of the solution,” he said.

There’s no doubting Haslem’s passion and willingness to put himself out there to help South Florida.

Perhaps his celebrity status can be a bridge between citizens, politicians and law enforcement.

Steven "Goldie" Goldstein

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