Boston Celtics Forward Jaylen Brown Doubts NBA Owners’ Commitment to Social Justice

"I think promises are made year after year. We've heard a lot of these terms and words before."

Jaylen Brown owners
Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics celebrates a three point shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round on August 19, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After a turbulent week in the NBA, the league resumed play on Saturday, after the players reached an agreement with the owners for the latter group to support social justice initiatives. However, Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, a leader in that same movement within the league, said on Saturday that he has doubts about the owners’ pledge of support going forward.

According to ESPN, Brown said on a video conference call that he’s “not as confident” as he would like to be regarding the push for social justice from the owners:

I think promises are made year after year. We’ve heard a lot of these terms and words before. We heard them in 2014 — reform. We’re still hearing them now. A lot of them are just reshaping the same ideas and nothing is actually taking place. Long-term goals are one thing, but I think there’s stuff in our wheelhouse as athletes with our resources and the people that we’re connected to that short-term effect is possible as well.

Jaylen Brown

Brown has been at the forefront of the league’s social justice actions this summer; in May, he drove to Atlanta to participate in the protests that began after the killing of George Floyd. There were also reports this past week that Brown was helping lead conversations between the Celtics and the Toronto Raptors about sitting out game one of their second round series, before the Milwaukee Bucks decided to do just that against the Orlando Magic.

According to ESPN’s report, the 23-year-old wing also spoke up during Wednesday night’s players meeting, asking his peers if, would they to leave the bubble, they would just go home or actively participate in protests and activism. With that in mind, it makes sense that he would be doubtful about the owners’ support, given that he wants tangible action from those who can try to effect change.

Brown did praise the NBA for the work they did in the bubble, while also stating that it has not been enough, particularly after the shooting of Jacob Blake:

I think the NBA did a good job initially about putting Black Lives Matter on the court, our jerseys have a message behind them, TV timeouts, we’ve done numerous amounts of videos, and it’s still not enough. People are still getting killed in the street, and the climate of America is still the same.

Jaylen Brown

For now, Brown says he will continue to use platform, and he praised the Bucks for doing just that on Wednesday.

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