NBA Backs Policing Reform Bill to Honor George Floyd’s Memory

The league is pushing Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act

The mural of George Floyd
The mural of George Floyd near the memorial for him in Minneapolis.
AFP via Getty Images

On the anniversary of George Floyd’s killing by a former Minneapolis police officer — who is now in prison after being convicted of murder — the National Basketball Association, along with the players’ unions for the NBA and WNBA, is pushing Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.

Already passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in March with bipartisan support, the act bans chokeholds and “qualified immunity” for law enforcement while creating national standards for policing to bolster accountability.

Using its new Social Justice Coalition, the NBA is calling on the Senate to pass the act as a way to acknowledge and honor Floyd’s death one year ago. “We are calling on our elected representatives of both parties to work together to pass the George Floyd in Policing Act in the U.S. Senate now and present it to President Biden for him to sign into law this year,” coalition executive director James Cadogan said.

Black Players for Change (BPC), an independent organization representing Black players in Major League Soccer, is joining the NBA in calling for Congress to pass the act.

“The biggest thing is qualified immunity,” as BPC executive director and Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow told ESPN. “That’s something that we absolutely have to change. It’s something that’s a big part of the bill, but there are other parts of police reform in there.”

Launched last year following the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and bolstered by the support of superstar LeBron James, the More Than A Vote organization also called for the passage of the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.

“George Floyd’s murder, along with those of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, brought the players together as activists last year, and the work to honor their lives continues with this campaign,” More Than A Vote executive Michael Tyler said in a statement. “The players fully understand their power and will wield it in support of this legislation as a first step in their efforts to secure lasting justice for Black communities that are regularly subject to police brutality.”

The one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death was marked across the country on Tuesday and members of his family including his daughter, sister and brother were in Washington meeting with President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

“Today I just felt a day of relief,” Floyd’s aunt Angela Harrelson told CNN. “The support that we have received, the love to get to this day. I am just overwhelmed with joy and hope and I feel like change is here.”

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