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Kyrie Irving protests in person, online as crisis continues

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Brooklyn Nets v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving took to the streets in southern California and Instagram Tuesday to protest the killing of George Floyd and racism in general, offering words of encouragement to people of color as well as hope that the current crisis can lead to change not just in laws or attitude, but culture.

Although Irving did not identify where he was protesting, it appears to be Los Angeles, where he has spent part of the COVID-19 crisis.

Later Tuesday, as part of #BlackOutTuesday, Irving posted a lengthy statement on Instagram...

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I am calling on all my People of Color,Leaders of Change, and all those that are aware of what is happening, what has happened, and are ready for solutions. ✊ ✊ ✊ ✊ They Can’t stop us when we are together and truly understand our Power as a collective. Our Native Indigenous Black Spirits, Our Native Indigenous Black Minds, Our Native Indigenous Black Bodies deserve to be treated with more Respect, Understanding, and Love. Know that Our bloodlines come from Royalty! We are the True Royalty, We are the Original King and Queens of this Spiritual and Physical world! They hide all of our History for a reason. We were captured and enslaved against our will for the benefit of their Oppressive and Racist system that has been in place and still is in place presently. They took/take damn there everything we have created Culturally, call it their own, and then turn it into something it was never meant to be or Mean. I am sick of this idea of letting things balance out and talk it out bullshit, and as a Native Of the Many Indigenous Lands of our world this is part of my Purpose of being here. It is to help change this whole Global agenda that has killed my family members and plagued my community for far to fucking long. Our parents and their parents parents have fought every year of their lives to keep the TRUTH about this world alive. The agenda, FREE OUR PEOPLE, because we know all this talking and protesting will get us maybe a few law changes and conversations, but at this point it’s bigger than that. It’s time we take all our Native Indigenous Black culture, business, ideas to a new place as a collective and protect it just like other cultures have done. Build our own! It’s clear White Supremacy and Corporations use us Native Indigenous Black Folk when it is beneficial for their agenda and pockets, so be aware of the truth in plain sight Family. How are we gonna break these generational curses that have been put on us purposefully to kill us and our families off? Taking our Land and Culture Back! Our Ancestors are watching and protecting us now more than ever! This is for Our Future Kids kids. We are the generation that will change this!

A post shared by Kyrie Eleison (KAI) (@kyrieirving) on

Irving, who has both African-American and Native American heritage, spoke of his anger and how it relates to what he sees as his role...

“I am sick of this idea of letting things balance out and talk it out bullshit, and as a Native Of the Many Indigenous Lands of our world this is part of my Purpose of being here. It is to help change this whole Global agenda that has killed my family members and plagued my community for far to fucking long.

Our parents and their parents parents have fought every year of their lives to keep the TRUTH about this world alive. The agenda, FREE OUR PEOPLE, because we know all this talking and protesting will get us maybe a few law changes and conversations, but at this point it’s bigger than that. It’s time we take all our Native Indigenous Black culture, business, ideas to a new place as a collective and protect it just like other cultures have done. Build our own!

Irving also warned that people of color most be on alert for those with ulterior motives.

It’s clear White Supremacy and Corporations use us Native Indigenous Black Folk when it is beneficial for their agenda and pockets, so be aware of the truth in plain sight Family.

Irving was one of many Nets players and staff —as well as the Nets and Barclays Center— who posted black squares on their Instagram accounts as part of Black Out Tuesday. Among the others were Caris LeVert, Theo Pinson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Dzanan Musa, DeAndre Jordan, Jeremiah Martin, Joe Harris, Chris Chiozza and Kevin Durant, as well as assistant coaches Tiago Splitter and Adam Harrington and Dr. Riley Williams, the team’s medical director.

The Boardroom, KD and Rich Kleiman’s corporate identity, posted a separate message...

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Black Lives Matter.

A post shared by The Boardroom (@theboardroom) on

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s protests at Barclays Center were mostly peaceful following three nights of violence. The arena and its entrance plaza have increasingly become a symbol of protests in New York. At one point, demonstrators raised a “Black Lives Matter” flag atop one of the flagpoles at the arena.

While the NBA and teams try to finalize a return-to-play, Marc Stein reports that many players and others in the league are dealing with psychological issues.

As the league acknowledged Monday in a private memorandum to its teams that was obtained by The New York Times, many people working in the N.B.A. “are experiencing trauma, frustration and isolation” amid protests and tumult across the nation and the ongoing struggle for justice and racial equality.