Tobias Harris always looks to use his platform for good. The latest example of this came at the Philadelphia 76ers’ practice on Monday, when Harris spoke with reporters for just 59 seconds and only answered one question. His message was powerful.
When Harris was asked about the NBPA partnering with Russell Westbrook’s clothing company to create t-shirts with social justice messages, he called for action to be taken against the Louisville police officers who killed Breonna Taylor on March 13.
“Nothing against the t-shirts, but we want to make sure that [Attorney General of Kentucky] Daniel Cameron will arrest the cops and officers involved with Breonna Taylor’s death. That’s all I got to say.”
Then, after pausing for a moment, Harris added the following before another question could be asked: “That’s going to be my answer for every question — for Daniel Cameron to step up and to do what’s right, and that’s the only message I’ve got today. Appreciate everybody, thanks.”
It’s been over four months since Breonna Taylor was murdered, and none of the three officers involved have been arrested. Brett Hankison is the only one who’s been fired, while Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove have only been placed on administrative reassignment.
As the Sixers continue thinking about ways they can speak up against racial injustice as the NBA season returns in Orlando, Glenn Robinson III shared how good he thinks the team and Brett Brown have been at discussing current events and how they should respond.
“What I’m kind of proud of the team with is we have more discussions that are open and more than just basketball. We’ve had a lot of just life discussions about kids; about family; you know, about race; social injustice — coach [Brett Brown] already does a great job of that I think, before practice, bringing up current events. But we just take it amongst ourselves to talk as men a little bit better and a little bit more, and just be vulnerable and open with each other. I thought we’ve done a great job of that.”
Robinson also made it clear how important Harris is in this area.
“We’re kind of leaning on Tobias right now. We’re going to come together as a team, kind of figure out where to go forward and what we’re going to do for the city of Philadelphia to come together with everything that’s going on right now.
“We want to decide as a team — why are we here, what are we playing for besides a championship? We’re also playing for our community and the things that are happening in the world. I think it’ll be pretty impactful, a pretty big statement. Hopefully it’s coming from Tobias soon.”
It’s essential to keep people’s focus on fighting racial injustice, and the fact that Breonna Taylor’s killers still haven’t faced any criminal charges is appalling. It’s been brilliant seeing NBA players like Harris and other athletes speaking up and taking action.
Harris has made various donations to support the Philadelphia community and help COVID-19 relief, and he took part in protests in Philly following the death of George Floyd. Now, he continues to use his platform to address these issues, and will be at the heart of whatever the Sixers decide to do in Orlando.
The city of Philadelphia and the NBA community as a whole are lucky to have him.