‘Unceasing Violence:’ Miami Heat Respond to Derek Chauvin Verdict


Miami Heat players Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro react to a tough call in a recent games versus New York.

Miami Heat star center Bam Adebayo ends every Zoom call with reporters with the words: “Black Lives Matter, people.” Finally, those words began to mean something after justice was served for George Floyd.

Floyd was killed in broad daylight last May when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. On Tuesday, Chauvin was found guilty of three separate crimes: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter.

The Miami Heat was one of the first professional sports organizations to release a statement following the verdict. The franchise cited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and said they “joined people all around the world in acknowledging and affirming the outcome of the trial in Minneapolis.” The statement went on to say that “much works remains ahead of us on behalf of the countless Black Americans we’ve lost to unceasing violence.”

Appropriate, since many players (see: Udonis Haslem) had been vocal about their own encounters in the Heat’s powerful “Speak the Truth” video series.

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Adebayo Discusses Meaning of Black Lives Matter

Adebayo tried to inform reporters last week about why it’s so important to support Black Lives Matter. He has seen racism first-hand and called it an “unrelenting cycle.” He was speaking during the Heat’s recent trip to Minneapolis, just a few miles from where Floyd was murdered and not too far from where 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed last week.

“The white man will never understand what it feels like walking down the street and the police car rides past and you have that cold sweat or that what-if in your mind,” Adebayo told reporters, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We bring it to light, we bring attention to it, and then we do all the right things, and then it happens again, and it happens again.”

Heat Heading Back Out on Road

The Miami Heat have endured a grueling stretch so far in April, including six games in nine days with two back-to-backs mixed in. Head coach Erik Spoelstra was quick to praise his tired and overworked bench for helping them get two victories in a row.

“They’ve been taking advantage of their opportunities in an unusual season where they’ve gotten playing time and been held accountable for playing time that has to lead to winning,” Spoelstra said of his bench, “and I think they’ve gotten a lot better over the last several weeks.”

Spoelstra’s squad has two days off after beating the Houston Rockets 113-91 on Monday night. They return to action on Wednesday (April 21) on the road against the San Antonio Spurs.