Doc Rivers Has Powerful Response to Violent Mob Infiltrating the Capitol

The coach of the Philadelphia 76ers is comfortable addressing uncomfortable topics

Doc Rivers coach of Philadelphia 76ers
Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers calls out to his players.
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

As he did in August following Jacob Blake being paralyzed after being shot in the back seven times by Wisconsin police, Doc Rivers once again addressed the messy state of affairs in modern-day America.

This time, the Philadelphia 76ers coach discussed the events at the Capitol on Wednesday prior to his team’s game against the Washington Wizards.

“I will say it because I don’t think a lot of people want to,” Rivers said in part. “Can you imagine today, if those were all Black people storming the Capitol, and what would have happened? That, to me, is a picture that’s worth a thousand words for all of us to see.”

Rivers also addressed the situation after the 76ers’ win with some powerful comments, again emphasizing the difference in the way law enforcement handled the domestic terrorists at the Capitol compared to how they treated peaceful Black protesters over the summer.

“The one thing I don’t want people to get lost on is that America does work. Democracy still works. It wasn’t a ton of people there, but there was enough people there,” Rivers said. “If Martin Luther King had said ‘I have a Dream’ today, and then said ‘Now let’s go storm the Capitol,’ there would have been bloodshed. When Black people in the past have protested, they’ve called them looters and rioters. Today, they kept calling them ‘protestors,’ for the most part. For a lot of people today, I think a lot of things changed, for the better. Because of what happened. I really believe that. So, hopefully, this is the first step to healing the country. This country needs to be healed.”

Rivers was far form the only member of the NBA community to speak out about the events that unfolded on Wednesday.

Prior to their game, which was nearly called off, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics issued a joint statement addressing the disturbing scene in Washington as well as the decision by Wisconsin prosecutors not to file criminal charges against police officers involved in the shooting of Blake.

“2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed,” the statement read. “We play tonight’s game with a heavy heart after yesterday’s decision in Kenosha, and knowing that protesters in our nation’s capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on. The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today’s protestors who acted illegally just shows how much more work we have to do. We have decided to play tonight’s game to try to bring joy into people’s lives. But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues and do everything we can to work for a more equal and just America.”

In an interview with ESPN, NBPA president Michele Roberts was a bit blunter.

“It reminded me of something that James Baldwin said, when asked what it was like to be a Negro in the United States of America. He said that if you’re conscious of what’s going on in the country, and you’re a Negro, you’re in a constant state of rage,” she said. “On a day like this, it’s the first thing that comes to mind. And all I can say is that I’m grateful knowing that hopefully nobody who looks like me is going to Capitol Hill to respond to this, because if they do, you’ll see a different response by law enforcement. You know it — and I know it.”

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