Player and team activism may be lost on you, but you’re not everyone

The Memphis Grizzlies show support for Tyre Nichols — here’s hoping it helps

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A week ago tonight I sat here and wrote about why I didn’t want to touch on the Memphis Grizzlies getting into a verbal altercation with Shannon Sharpe during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The point of that article was to illustrate why it’s important to stay current on issues that actually matter. Case and point, that same Grizzlies team spent this Friday night not fighting with FS1 personalities, but battling to find the motivation to play Minnesota amid everything happening in Memphis with Tyre Nichols.

Ja Morant and Co. lost again, going 0-for on their five-game road trip, and anybody trying to find solace in sports after another senseless killing of a Black man at the hands of police found no quarter. Looking to athletes and pop culture icons for guidance was groundbreaking and culture-shifting in the ’60s and ’70s. You know, before the novelty wore off.


Now, players and organizations speaking out is as normal as police brutality and public slaughter. California saw three mass shootings in 44 hours this week that left 19 people dead, including one in Oakland, where the Golden State Warriors used to play.

It’s unclear whether they held a moment of silence before the game, but if they did, was the pause honoring Nichols or the victims of the shootings? The team’s Twitter account retweeted the NBA’s statement on Nichols, and honestly, I’m beyond tired of tracking down bereavement responses.


Warriors talk gun reform

Steve Kerr and the Dubs visited the White House recently, and the coach, who has been a level above outspoken about gun violence, and the team used the opportunity to push President Joe Biden on gun reform. We’ve reached a point where athletes have over delivered on activism.

I’m not saying they should stay silent and shut up and dribble. What I’m trying to get across is it’s getting really fucking hard not to be desensitized to everything. The discourse on social media is so contentious that by the time we finish arguing about who reacted appropriately, we’re onto the next tragedy.

The outpouring of support for the families and communities is equal parts heartbreaking and moving. Yet how many times can you touch those nerves before you become numb?


Taylor Jenkins’ reaction

And that brings me back to Memphis, and coach Taylor Jenkins, who did and said everything right in his pregame media session.


He wasn’t the only coach, and Memphis wasn’t the only organization, with a candid reaction.


You can scroll through countless thoughtful words that will elicit every emotion on Plutchik’s wheel, and no matter how pointless, frustrating, or nerve-wrenching it becomes, that shouldn’t stop you from trying to help.

Most tweets, posts, and Insta stories are sent off into the ether, never to be remembered or spoken of again. But, you never know. Your words could come across the right feed. While you might not always inspire the Arab Spring or a March on Washington, it could help someone. Not everybody is as jaded as a blogger who skims across the surface of the internet, hoping not for another skip, but to plunge to the bottom and hide from all the bullshit.


And even though I’m closing in on that point, when it came to writing about Nichols, or anything else tonight, there was no hesitation. Don’t, not for a second, lose your voice. It’s increasingly the only source of hope we have left.