Orlando Magic release statement on protests over racial injustice, murder of George Floyd

The Orlando Magic released a statement in the wake of protests throughout the country. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic released a statement in the wake of protests throughout the country. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic joined many other organizations to call for nonviolence and understanding of local protests over racial injustice.

Protests have dominated headlines throughout the last three days as anger and frustration over the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis followed a frustratingly similar pattern.

Communities that have long been overlooked, forgotten and abused are protesting. In some areas, they are meeting resistance from the very bodies they demand change from because they are supposed to serve and protect them.

That has only escalated the potential for violence. The nation is watching in horror, shock and reflection as these protests continue to play out.

Expectedly, businesses and other national organizations are releasing statements hoping to express their support and understanding of the frustrations the protestors are feeling while pleading for calm and continued nonviolence.

The Orlando Magic released their statement Sunday afternoon on their social media channels:

"“We stand with our neighbors and the nation in condemning the horrific and senseless death of George Floyd,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said in the statement. “There have been far too many victims of racial bias and abuses of power, particularly in the Black community. As an organization, we remain deeply committed to providing an environment where all feel welcomed, valued and appreciated, where all are treated with dignity and respect.“The Orlando Magic are proud of the impact our players have made in the community, and we support their efforts that they will continue to make. We believe that sports bring people together, bridging divisions and demonstrating core values of inclusion, equality, diversity and unity. We will continue to use the platform we’ve been provided to bring people together and work collectively to promote peaceful and necessary social change.”"

Orlando has seen its share of protests.

Throughout the day Saturday, protests marched up and down Orange Avenue in Downtown Orlando carrying signs and chanting peacefully. Police escorted them through their route, blocking off traffic and keeping them safe.

However, there were a few incidents worth noting.

Protesters got onto State Road 408, one of the major highways in Orlando, and blocked traffic. Police officers used tear gas to disperse the crowd. Protesters also reportedly damaged stores near the Mall at Millennia.

Orange County has put a 10 p.m. curfew order to try to control crowds.

The call for peaceful protest is warranted but is not the main point. There is reason for this frustration and this outburst. The death of George Floyd is the latest in a long string of deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police with no apparent reason or justification.

This is not even the only incident this year or recently. And the stories seem to be a deluge. Only now the world is seeing it all streamed live with the prevalence of cell phones with recording capabilities. This is uncovering institutional racism that has existed throughout this country’s history.

What is certainly different now is how celebrities and major organizations — like the NBA and the Magic — are trying to use their voices to push for change and challenge their fans to consider how they can contribute to positive change in their communities.

To be sure, this is a time for people who are not black (like myself) to listen, ask how we can help and, yes, stay out of the way to let those affected most lead the way toward change.

It is also a time for everyone to acknowledge that change is necessary and that the status quo of how Black Americans — our fellow Americans (if you live in the United States) and fellow human beings — is not acceptable. And it was never acceptable.

The fight for equality is a long struggle. For some of the basic rights that many of us take for granted and assume are given to all our fellow citizens, there is no incremental implementation. We must demand all be treated equally under the law and be given equal rights immediately if we want the nation to live up to its creed.

This is not a political statement. This is a statement of human and civil rights.

I cannot possibly comprehend the pain and frustration others are feeling. I am Jewish and deal with my own discriminations and concern for my safety. But I am passing and can easily hide that “difference” from those who want to spread hate. It is comparable to a point and nowhere near the daily frustrations and worries that Black Americans live through.

All I can and want to do is listen and share the stories that matter.

Like the statement former Magic coach Doc Rivers shared:

Or the op-ed that former Magic forward Monty Williams wrote for The Athletic (free for all to read). Or the statement from Michael Jordan:

Statements can feel hollow. They can feel like regurgitated public relations statements.

Devoid of action and support, they are meaningless. Cynicism is sometimes warranted.

While the Magic and their players have done some incredible work in Central Florida to help the communities most affected, skepticism may still be warranted. Organizations still have to do more to promote inclusion and understanding of these issues.

The Magic are not there right now to play to bring some semblance of unity. Social distancing is preventing them perhaps from being more active to try to be a bridge to discuss and learn about these issues.

But we all have to do more.

Next. Orlando Magic will host virtual summer camps. dark

Eds. Note: I realize this is an imperfect statement both covering the news and expressing my personal thoughts and experience. As I said, I am here to listen.

So I encourage anyone to tell me how I can better express these thoughts and help bend this country closer to equality. Please be thoughtful and respectful in the comment section below.