Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem said Sunday that he was “torn” amid protests across the country following the death of a black man in Minnesota who is in police custody. But Haslem also said he is eager to help bridge between communities.
Haslem, who said he has many family members working for the Miami Police Department, said protesters should keep in mind that many law enforcement are trying to help the areas they serve.
“There’s definitely justice for George [Floyd]; there really should be protests for what happened to George. But I’d be lying if I said it was happening the right way, “Haslem said at a news conference held by Miami police.” I would be lying if I said I was proud of what was really going on. I have an obligation to this community, because this community has done so much for me. But I also have an obligation to the police department. So many members of my family come here every day. They work, they care for people, they make people safe, so there has to be a better way. I̵7;m standing here now confused, torn, frustrated.
“I just want to be a part of the solution. We need to have a plan going forward. It needs to come together.”
.@Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem spoke at a protest in his hometown of Miami on Sunday.
– SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 31, 2020
Floyd, who is black, died after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for a few minutes. Chauvin was fired Tuesday and charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree murder. Three other officers were also fired but still have been charged.
“They were horrible people before they put that badge on, man. For you to stand there and watch that, it has nothing to do with your badge, it has nothing to do with your color, it has nothing to do with your race; this is something inside of you that is a mess, “Haslem said of the officers involved in Floyd’s death. “Your soul is not right.”
Haslem played all 17 of his NBA seasons with the Heat. This season, Haslem has appeared in just three games, and he is set to meet on Sunday.
“Just because I don’t get the minutes I use doesn’t mean I’m going to lose and you can’t see or hear from me. I’ll figure out a way to master the role I have. The role I have now is to become leader, “Haslem said. “People say people are born leaders. I can’t [been] born for it. I will never see this coming. But I’m here today. It is my responsibility to do something. “
Meanwhile, Enes Kanter and Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics spoke at a demonstration in Boston this Sunday. The afternoon of most peaceful protests broke into the night when protesters stormed the officials, throwing rocks and burning a police vehicle.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.