SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder addressed the media Thursday for the first time since the NBA season was suspended in March. But he did not talk much about the re-start of the season. Instead, Snyder focused on the social and racial injustices happening across the country.
Some players have considered not playing in Orlando next month, whether it is because of the coronavirus or to keep fighting against racism and speaking out against police brutality. But Snyder says the Jazz are unified.
“As of right now, our group is going to be in tact going to Orlando,” said Snyder, who serves on the NBA Coaches Association committee on racial injustice and reform. “But we’ll also continue to have that dialogue. There are things bigger than basketball.”
Jazz all-star guard Donovan Mitchell has been very vocal on social media ever since the killing of George Floyd, and while he has received support from some fans, there has also been backlash with some extremely negative comments.
“I’ve been very proud of our players and Donovan with his postings on social media, Jordan Clarkson marching in Los Angeles,” Snyder said. “There were a lot of positive comments surrounding Donovan’s post. That said, there were also some comments that were abominable, and things that we should never tolerate. We’ve heard a lot of talk about uncomfortable conversations, and that’s OK. Donovan was certainly uncomfortable on some level. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in.”
Snyder says he and his staff have had regular conversations with the team regarding racial issues.
“Listening to them, the opportunities as a coaching staff to have dialogue about race and social injustice, racial reform has been enlightening.”
Some former and current players say playing the games in Orlando will be a distraction from the real issue of racism. But Snyder believes the entire league will take advantage of the platform they’ve been given to make their voices heard.
“That’s one of the great things about having an opportunity to play on the stage that we will,” he said. “That can be something that I think people are going to be very passionate about. As important as basketball is to all of us, it’s not only a living, it’s a profession. Sometimes, it’s an identity, but the identity that matters most more than any other is who we are and our integrity as people.”
Snyder says education is the key, and he is bringing his own children into the dialogue.
“We went down as a family with our masks and all those things on Juneteenth,” Snyder said. “I wanted them to be a part of that. The education that I’ve been able to receive on any number of issues is something that is humbling in many ways. It’s also inspiring. The road from complacency to complicity is a slippery slope.”
As for his team, Snyder is pleased with the way his team has looked since returning to Utah to prepare for the re-start of the season.
“I feel good about our team,” he said. “I think everybody is enthusiastic. Guys are getting ready to play as we get back together even in smaller groups.”