Phoenix Suns and Monty Williams put out strong messages

Phoenix Suns Monty Williams (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Monty Williams (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

With America reeling, the Phoenix Suns and head coach Monty Williams have stepped up made strong statements on the current state of affairs.

Because 2020 wasn’t awful enough already, now we have obscene police brutality and subsequent protest riots sweeping across America. Rightfully so, with tensions so high everywhere, the Phoenix Suns, in a joint effort with the Phoenix Mercury, put out a statement.

It was brief, to the point, and effective:

While Monty Williams was mentioned in the official team statement, like a good leader, he spoke out more himself in an attempt to set an example and provide a sense of direction.

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams wrote an emotional message on current affairs.

Williams wrote an op-ed in the Athletic that did a great job expressing his pain, compassion, and love on the very emotional issue of systemic racism and how to handle it.

My favorite excerpt of his writing discusses just this:

"I am angry, afraid and in pain. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the solutions start with love, listening, compassion, service and defending those who can’t defend themselves."

20-30 years ago, NBA personalities often stayed silent when controversial issues arose, most famously Michael Jordan, who kept quiet on almost every political and social topic.

Luckily, society has evolved since then. Now, in the era of smartphones with HD cameras and social media, abject examples of racism and other evils are so easily accessible, it has become impossible to dismiss them into the shadows, and with that, public figures with a platform have stepped up and engaged in the national dialogue.

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2020 has been hell. COVID-19 has taken away so much more than 100,000-plus American lives (as if that wasn’t bad enough), but it has taken away our sense of normalcy. With millions of Americans staying cooped up at home, anxious over their jobs, the economy, and just plain stir-craziness, the fabric of unity holding society together was an unraveling sweater whose threads began wrapping around a powder keg.

The George Floyd murder was the all-too-familiar incendiary molotov cocktail that exploded the whole thing.

Now is the time for leaders like Monty Williams and others to demonstrate that weaving together even stronger threads of unity is possible, and it is great to see him doing it. His players seem to agree with this, as Ricky Rubio sent out a simple, “…love you, coach,” on Twitter in response to his op-ed.

We know Monty Williams is a man of principles and some occasional cliches, but a new one he unveiled in this writing really stood out to me as extremely pertinent right now.

"As I tell my players, I’m not calling you out, I’m calling you up."

Everyone has been called up in this moment. How we all respond will determine our future and how we, once again, continue to evolve as a society.

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