Erik Spoelstra condemns Atlanta shootings, recent anti-Asian attacks: 'It breaks my heart'

Ryan Young
·3-min read

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra joined countless others in the sports world in condemning the shootings in Atlanta earlier this week on Friday.

As an Asian American himself – Spoelstra’s mom, Elisa, was born in the Philippines — Tuesday’s attacks at three spas hit home.

“Look, I’m Asian American. I’m proud to be Asian American. Seeing what’s happening with another just outright form of racism and hatred really is sickening. It breaks my heart,” Spoelstra said. “It’s despicable, and I think more people have to be made aware of this.

“It really is irrelevant who you are or what you are, you have to see that this is wrong. It really is. It’s heartbreaking. This shows you where we are. There is hatred abundantly still out there and people feel empowered to attack the Asian community. I just pray in my heart that this can stop.”

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A 21-year-old man was arrested and charged with eight counts of murder after he allegedly killed eight people at three different massage parlors in the Atlanta area on Tuesday night. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent, something that has only caused more fear and anger throughout the Asian American community.

Spoelstra is one of several throughout the league who have spoken out about the shootings and rise in anti-Asian attacks. LeBron James, Steve Kerr and Jeremy Lin — who has been speaking out about the topic for months now — all quickly hit social media condemning the shooter. The Los Angeles Lakers held a moment of silence on Thursday night, and Memphis Grizzlies vice president Rich Cho spoke with Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes on Friday.

“The past year has been such a sobering time in the area of racial injustice, particularly as these issues affect the Black community and now as incidents rise against Asian Americans,” Cho, who was the first Asian American general manager in the league, said. “Hate crimes and hate speech are things so cruel and reprehensible, yet they occur almost daily. Many of these attacks never even make the news, but they still happen. We cannot let this behavior ever become normalized.”

Spoelstra, 50, has led the Heat since 2008, when he was promoted to the top job after a decade-long stint as an assistant. The Heat issued a statement on Friday, too, standing by Spoelstra and condemning the attacks.

“The recent spate of attacks on Asian-Americans is reprehensible and extremely upsetting to us,” the Heat said in a statement on Friday. “A hateful act of violence committed against one of us is an act of violence committed against all of us. And it has to stop.

“We condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms and we stand with our friends in the Asian-American community.”

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra condemned the Atlanta massage parlor shootings and the recent rise in anti-Asian attacks on Friday. (AP/Chris O'Meara)

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