Black Lives Matter is a declaration of human rights, not politics

In a passionate message in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said “it is time” for the United States to tackle and resolve systemic racism.

In a message posted via Twitter on Friday afternoon, Krzyzewski said the United States had chosen the “easiest mistake” for 400 years and denied the impact of racism.

“We see that,” Krzyzewski said in the video. “And what do we do when we see it? We turn the other way. We don’t solve the problem. The problem won’t be solved and no problem will be solved unless you acknowledge it. Acknowledge it. If you acknowledge it, you have a duty to solve it. We as a country have a duty to solve this problem. “

Krzyzewski had previously released a statement after George Floyd was killed when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, saying, “I’m angry!”

On Friday, the five-time national coach champion said supporting African Americans right now is a matter of humanity.

“Black Lives Matter. Say it. Can you say it? Black Lives Matter,” Krzyzewski said at the beginning of the video. “We should say it every day. It is not political. This is not a political declaration. It is a declaration of human rights. It is a declaration of justice.”

While Floyd’s death sparked protests across the country, multiple recent incidents have fueled the emotions of those affected and concerned about the country’s climate around race. Three white men were recently charged with murder for the February murder of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot while running in Georgia. Breonna Taylor, a black medical worker, was killed in Louisville, Kentucky, in March after police executed a “do not touch” order and shot the 26-year-old at least eight times, according to reports. An officer has been charged with serious murder after shooting and killing Rayshard Brooks in Wendy’s Atlanta parking lot earlier this month. A second officer has been charged with aggravated assault. Both were fired after the incident, which was captured on video.

“Don’t we see the problem?” Krzyzewski asked. “The disease, the plague that has been with our country for four centuries. Do we not see systemic racism and social injustice? Come on. We all see it. It manifests itself in many ways: criminal justice, the murders that we have seen and that we have not seen, the denial of economic opportunities for our black community, educational opportunities, medical care. It has manifested itself in many ways and has been for four centuries. “

Krzyzewski’s message follows a series of actions by a variety of college basketball coaches who have promised to create change. Frank Martin of South Carolina, Tommy Amaker of Harvard, LeVelle Moton of North Central Carolina, and other minority coaches have called for high schools and universities to require black history courses for students before graduation.

John Calipari has promised to start a minority internship program at the Kentucky Department of Athletics. A group of assistant coaches from Big East has formed a coalition to tackle social injustice.

The National Association for Equity and Training Development, a group anchored by some of the best black coaches in the country, has pointed to the lack of diversity among coaches, athletic directors and presidents of schools in college athletics.

“For a long time, economically oppressed black, brown and Americans have been whispering ‘We can’t breathe,’ but the United States has not been listening,” the group statement said. “This has never been more prevalent than it is today in the recruitment practices of professional and university sports organizations for leadership positions. Coaches, athletic directors, general managers, and owners remain predominantly white, while players are predominantly white. blacks. “

Krzyzewski has led one of the elite college basketball programs since 1980. His statement punctuates a collective energy, which has grown in recent weeks, within the college basketball community.

“We as a country have chosen the easiest mistake for four centuries,” Krzyzewski said, referring to a sentence from his days as an Army cadet. “It is time to choose the most difficult right. It is time to end systemic racism and social injustice. It is time. Black Lives Matter.”