MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Many were stunned by Wednesday’s takeover of the US Capitol, including Miami Heat players who spoke out about police reaction to the protesters.
Wednesday night’s game between the Heat and the Boston Celtics almost did not happen. Players from both teams talked about the riots that unfolded in the nation’s capital.
Celtic’s coach Brad Stevens had a feeling the game would not be played, but instead, minutes before tipoff players decided the game would go on. Nearly all of them knelt during the national anthem.
Heat’s Meyers Leonard stood because of family military ties but said he solidly backs his kneeling teammates.
In a statement, the teams said that they were playing with a heavy heart. Elsewhere, the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons knelt during their game’s first two possessions.
All this, of course, a reaction to rioters storming the capitol at the urging of President Trump while Congress certified Joe Biden’s defeat of Trump in the November election.
Athletes say the meek police presence faced by the largely white mob was a stark contrast to the show of force months earlier when Black Lives Matter marched near the same spot.
“We see the two different USA’s that we live in. It is sad. It truly is. It is sad,” said Miami’s Jimmy Butler.
“It is one of those things. You see what it is. They just get to go in the White House. Imagine if a mob of black people wanted to go in the White House. They will get teargas. It would be rubber bullets. It would be the whole nine yards,” said Bam Adebayo.
“It reminds me of what Doctor Martin Luther King said. There are two different Americas. One America you get to get killed by sleeping in your car. Playing in your backyard,” said Boston Celtics’ Jalen Brown. “In another America, you get to storm the capitol. No teargas. No massive arrests. None of that.”
“I think it is obvious. It is 2021. I don’t think anything had changed.”
The Heat’s next game is Saturday in Washington against the Wizards. On that road trip, Adebayo says he won’t leave his hotel room until it is game time.