In what has been a difficult year for the world and the Toronto Raptors because of COVID-19, the troubles were exacerbated by racial inequality. It’s a subject that nearly derailed the restart of the NBA season, but the Raptors are an example of how to be in these turbulent times.
The Toronto Raptors lost a member of their team this week in assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren. After two seasons as a head coach with the Phoenix Suns, Nate Bjorkgren spent the last two seasons with the Toronto Raptors.
It was announced recently that he was granted the head-coaching position with the Toronto Raptors’ Conference rivals, the Indiana Pacers. He is due well-wishes and congratulations, but it is another decision by NBA franchises to hire a head coach who is not of African-American descent that is troubling.
The year 2020 will be remembered for its introduction to the world of a pandemic named COVID-19 and as a spring and summer of racial discontent with black Americans’ feeling like they are worthless members of their society. Protests broke out everywhere, with the Black Lives Matter movement taking center stage in calling out racial injustice.
The NBA tried to do its part, considering their African American players make up about 81 percent of their 30 franchises’ rosters by painting “Black Lives Matter” on the Florida Bubble court and allowing players to wear social messages on their jerseys.
However, the political unrest was heightened as the police brutality continued, and contentious slayings of black citizens George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were followed by Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times by police in the back. NBA playoff games were canceled, delaying the Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics second-round playoff series.
Since then, much of North American life has been scrutinized concerning marginalized people and communities. The hiring practices of the NBA and sports leagues have not escaped the intense glare of this scrutiny.
Nate Bjorkgren’s hiring this week by the Indiana Pacers is an affirmation for Raptors nation and its fan base that the team does things the right way, and its time the rest of the NBA follows the Toronto Raptors lead.
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