SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Calls for justice and police reform have taken center stage in the world of sports. Professional athletes have boycotted games and matches, including the Utah Jazz, but the move doesn’t bode well with some of the organization’s fan base.
“I don’t want to turn on the TV and see ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the court,” Ken told ABC4 News. “It has no bearing there. No being.”
Ken, who said he is tired of tuning into the NBA Playoffs only to see athletes boycotting, stood in front of Vivint Smart Home Arena with a ‘Defund the NBA’ sign to express his frustration.
“I don’t see race. I don’t see basketball. I don’t want to have to turn it on and say, they’re Black men — and I don’t want to be rude, but what were they actually asking for?” … “I think they should just play basketball and stay out of it.”
That is something players have vowed not to do.
“This is bigger than just the game,” Utah Jazz Guard Donovan Mitchell told reporters during a press conference this week.
In an exclusive interview, former Utah Jazz Forward Antoine Carr delivered this message to fans who have told Mitchell to “stick to basketball.”
“You’re going tell me, you’re not going to support this young man because he’s saying ‘This is injustice?’ I’ll tell you what, let’s reverse it. Let’s show a white man having his neck sat on for eight minutes and some seconds by a Black officer. Let’s see this happen repeatedly over and over in your community and let’s see how you will react to it.”
“He loves that city,” Carr said, referring to Donovan Mitchell. “He’s given his heart. If you can’t give your heart back to him, you don’t deserve to watch him play.”
The retired power forward also weighed in on Real Salt Lake Owner Dell Loy Hansen.
Hansen expressed dissatisfaction with RSL players choosing to skip out on a match to denounce racial injustice. Hansen said their decision made him question how much he wanted to invest in the team.
Following his remarks, Hansen chose to take a leave of absence.
“You sound like somebody who owns a plantation, and you want to control the slaves. Brother, those days are over and let the dog tell you, you’re wrong.”