NBA social justice coalition urges lawmakers to pass George Floyd police act ahead of anniversary

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The NBA’s social justice coalition urged lawmakers to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Bill on Monday night in a strong statement released on the eve of Floyd’s death.

The coalition — which was formed in November after a season where activism and social justice issues were at the forefront of the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World — called on senators to pass the sweeping legislation to “honor the memory of Mr. Floyd,” who was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last year.

“Almost exactly one year ago, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis,” their statement read, in part. “Like millions around the world, NBA players, coaches, governors, officials and staff throughout our organization were outraged to see the horrifying and unlawful actions of the officer who pinned Mr. Floyd’s neck to the ground under his knee for nine minutes. Mr. Floyd’s death added new fuel to the protests, marches, and urgent calls for racial justice and reform locally and nationally.

“Today, as this painful anniversary approaches, we have an opportunity to honor the memory of Mr. Floyd and others who have been victims of police brutality in this country by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“Systemic problems demand systemic solutions. And, because police actions are governed by a diverse array of state laws and local policies, the Floyd Act takes unprecedented strides toward consistency — reforming at a federal level the practices that failed its namesake.”

The coalition includes five players — Carmelo Anthony, Avery Bradley, Sterling Brown, Donovan Mitchell and Karl-Anthony Towns — two coaches — Lloyd Pierce and Doc Rivers — several team chairmen and team owners, commissioner Adam Silver, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts.

George Floyd Act unlikely to pass by deadline

The House of Representatives passed the Floyd Act in March, which would bring sweeping policing change across the country.

The bill, among other things, would change qualified immunity for police officers and make it easier to prosecute them, impose new restrictions on the use of deadly force and ban no-knock warrants, according to The New York Times.

Law enforcement unions and groups, per the report, have strongly opposed the bill and the Trump administration threatened to veto it while Donald Trump was in office.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, however, isn’t likely to pass in its current form. It made it through the House largely on party lines, and would need 60 votes to pass in the split Senate. President Joe Biden has vocally supported the bill and called on Congress to pass it by the anniversary of Floyd’s death, which is Tuesday.

Though it is facing an uphill battle, the league and the coalition still felt compelled to speak out.

“As members of the NBA family, we will continue to use our influence to support common-sense policy reform in our communities across the nation so that equal justice is afforded to all," the coalition said.

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