The verdict passed down from a grand jury in Jefferson County, Kentucky Wednesday on the killing of Breonna Taylor in her own home by police certainly caught the attention of the Boston Celtics locker room.
And it was tough for them to fully process the news prior to taking the floor for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Miami Heat. Only one of the three officers involved in the shooting were indicted and the punishment was less severe than many expected as the lone officer was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment.
“I can’t wrap my head around it, to be honest,” said Celtics All-Star guard Kemba Walker. “I’m kind of at a loss for words to be honest with you. It’s a really sad situation. I just feel really bad for her and her family. They definitely deserve more. They deserve justice and it didn’t happen. But we as people, we have to stand strong with them and support them as best we can. I wish the best for that family.”
Kemba Walker discusses the Breonna Taylor verdict today. pic.twitter.com/T78Efpzuy0— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 24, 2020
Jaylen Brown, who has been outspoken on racial justice and the lead figure for the Celtics when it comes to these societal issues, said he could feel that the decision wasn’t going to turn out like many hoped.
“To be honest, I wasn’t surprised by the verdict,” Brown said. “It’s tough. It’s hard to gather the words, but I wasn’t surprised. I think that this society the way it was built, the intentions was to never protect and serve people of color initially. When they were gearing up for what was about to happen, I knew that the wrong decision was probably being made. It doesn’t surprise me at all. Until we dismantle, recreate or change this system that we have, it’s going to continue to have victims like Breonna Taylor and others that fall victim to oppression.
“It was tough getting emotionally ready for the game, but I wasn’t surprised.”
Prior to Game 4, Celtics coach Brad Stevens echoed Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr by calling the news of the verdict “demoralizing.” Stevens expected a harsher punishment for the officers and while there has been a unified call for action from NBA players and coaches, Stevens feels it wasn’t heard in this case.
Brad Stevens discusses the Breonna Taylor news this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/62QEUnYxFG— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 23, 2020
“There’s been a call across the country, rightfully so, for more transparency, more accountability and just a better community relationship,” Stevens said. “Obviously, this feels like a step back to that.”