Stephen Jackson Tells Pro Athletes to Hold Team Owners Accountable Amid Protests

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIJune 2, 2020

Stephen Jackson a friend of George Floyd speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn. The city has seen protests against police brutality sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Retired NBA champion Stephen Jackson has emerged as a leading voice seeking justice for George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

Jackson specifically addressed owners and league executives across sports in an Instagram video Tuesday:

"This is for my NFL homies, my NBA homies, and my Major League Baseball homies. I got a lot of love for all y'all, but it's time to hold our owners, GMs, vice presidents, everybody at the top, accountable. What if it was your son or daughter? They want you to dance. They want you to smile, promote, shoot, work out, represent the organization the right way, right? But they not fighting for us. I don't hear none of them.

"It's time to hold them accountable, bro. Hold y'all president accountable. Hold y'all owner accountable. Because nine out of 10 times, if they ain't speaking with us, then they're against us. They love you bringing all that money in, but why they ain't speaking up when our kids getting murdered? Or when our black men or black women getting murdered? The time is now, bro. You can't play both sides."

Floyd and Jackson were close friends who affectionally called each other "twin" because of how closely they resembled each other.

Floyd was pronounced dead at the hospital after since-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the back of his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter Friday. The three other officers involved in Floyd's arrest remain uncharged.

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To Jackson's point, ESPN's Pablo Torre revealed discord within the New York Knicks over team governor James Dolan's silence:

Jackson has been outspoken across his personal social media accounts as well as appearances across the media landscape, but the 42-year-old's speech during a rally for Floyd in Minneapolis on Friday was especially powerful (NSFW language):

"Right now, I'm 10 toes down, and my only purpose is getting justice and being with these people and trying to be a good leader," Jackson told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears on Monday about his participation in peaceful protests following Floyd's killing (h/t ESPN's Dave McMenamin).

Protests have enveloped the country denouncing police brutality and racial injustice.