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Former Duke athletes react to recent Black Lives Matter protests

Coach K has been very active in social justice movements and his influence has spread across the Duke community.
Coach K has been very active in social justice movements and his influence has spread across the Duke community.

In light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests, Duke Athletics hosted a peaceful protest in K-Ville to share stories and support for the topic. Several heartfelt speeches were given by Blue Devil athletes and coaches. Duke athletics alumni and students alike have shown their support to this cause through social media, attending peaceful protests and giving touching speeches. 

Daniel Jones, Quarterback, New York Giants

Daniel Jones released a powerful statement on his Twitter account supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. He pledged to “proudly stand beside [his] brothers and the entire black community in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement to end systemic racism.” Jones’ efforts are joined by his team through a series of meetings and discussions of current events such as the death of Goerge Floyd with a goal of doing their part in ending systemic racism. 

Jamison Crowder, Wide Receiver, New York Jets

In response to the Jacob Blake shooting, Jamison Crowder shared many of his personal experiences of racism throughout college in a Zoom interview with Sports Illustrated. He explains the numerous times he has been pulled over by while driving when he had not committed any crimes. He claimed that he is “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and that we need to take more actions through changing law. 

JJ Redick, Guard, New Orleans Pelicans 

JJ Redick joined a podcast hosted by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang to express his beliefs on the impact of the restart of the NBA season on the Black Lives Matter movement. He believes that the continuation of the season will be beneficial for the BLM movement in that it is an act to unite the players, teams and the league and to encourage “direct conversations” that “will directly benefit Black people and Black communities.”

Grant Hill, former NBA player and co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks 

In an interview with NBA on TNT, Grant Hill offered his perspective on the issue and his opinion on Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s recent speech in support of this movement. He revealed that Blue Devil Alumni got together in several virtual meetings to listen to each other’s stories, talk about an inherently sensitive topic and to learn and understand the current event. 

Jayson Tatum, Forward, Boston Celtics 

While picking his jersey for the NBA restart, Jayson Tatum had many options to choose from, but ultimately wanted to use this as an opportunity to raise social awareness by putting a different statement on the back of his uniform. Tatum wanted to put Michael Brown’s name on his jersey in memory of Brown’s tragic death in St. Louis, Tatum’s hometown, when he was 16. The former No. 2 pick claimed that the Black Lives Matter is an issue that “hit too close to home,” especially because the injustice occurred only 10 minutes away from where he lived. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to because Brown's name did not fall on the NBA's pre-approved list. 

Kyrie Irving, Guard, Brooklyn Nets 

Contrary to Redick’s take on whether the NBA season should resume, Kyrie Irving believes that it is more important to focus on the issues at hand: systematic racism in America. Irving thinks that the NBA season will act as a distraction from the tragic current events such as the death of George Floyd. Furthermore, the NBA star has participated in peaceful protests and expressed his opinion on many social media platforms such as instagram and Twitter. His teammates supported his opinions, despite the controversy amongst other players in the league. 


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