The NBA world reacted Friday to the release of videos showing the January 7 traffic stop that preceded the Death of Tire Nicholswho spent three days in hospital before succumbing to his injuries.
In the videos, police allegedly use pepper spray on Nichols while punching and kicking the 29-year-old, leaving him bloody and dazed.
The brutal encounter led to the shooting of five memphis cops who now face charges, including second-degree murder.
LEBRON JAMES, NBA WORLD REACT TO VIDEO OF POLICE BEATING TIRE NICHOLS: ‘WE ARE OUR WORST ENEMY’
For the Memphis Grizzlies, Nichols’ death was a blow close to home as the team prepared to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in Minneapolis.
Before the game, and before the release of the video, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins. provided his thoughts as his team prepared to play.
«The senseless loss of life for Tire Nichols has really hit us hard,» Jenkins said. «And it’s been hard being on the road, not being home. And I wish I could extend my arms through this camera right now to the family. They’re going through a lot.»
TENNESSEE SHERIFF OPENS NEW INVESTIGATION INTO TWO OFFICERS AFTER RELEASE OF TIRE NICHOLS’ BODY CAMERA VIDEO
Jenkins said he watched a televised interview of Nichols’s mother talking about her son’s death earlier that day and said it brought him to tears.
«We are here again, sadly. The loss of life from police brutality is something you cannot imagine,» Jenkins continued. «As the head coach of this team, I try to make everyone understand the responsibilities we have to move beyond basketball. This is a stark reminder of where we stand to unify our city. Our city has a great soul. Our city have great love for each other».
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“Obviously, this is a difficult time for our city to deal with, face it, face it and recover. But we’ll get through it. I know the family, watching that interview today, will get over it. I will do this with a heavy heart, but also remembering a beautiful life that was lost. And hopefully we can celebrate that life and proudly remember the life of Tire Nichols. Represent our city with pride.»
A moment of silence was observed before the match was played and the The NBA issued a statement.
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«The images of Tire Nichols’ life needlessly interrupted are horrifying. While there have been steps toward accountability in this case, the NBA family remains committed to partnering with advocates, lawmakers, and law enforcement to work on solutions to the problems we face.» said the NBA. «Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr. Nichols, the entire Memphis community, and those affected by these tragic images and loss.