Trae Young Says I 'Need to Speak Up for What's Right' After George Floyd Killing

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2020

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, right, holds a
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young said Wednesday he wants to use his voice and platform to condemn systemic racism and police brutality as protests continue around the United States and world. 

"I'm a role model and am bigger than what I just do to play basketball," he said, per Mark Medina of USA Today. "In times like this, I know I need to speak up for what's right."  

Young has joined the protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, who was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Hospital after since-fired and since-arrested Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.  

"I thought it was important for me to go out and show my face," he said, per Malika Andrews of ESPN. "I think there was a responsibility for me to speak up, especially through a time like this."

Young, 21, emerged as one of the NBA's brightest young stars in his second season, averaging 29.6 points, 9.3 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from three. That was good enough to earn him his first All-Star selection, though the young Hawks went just 20-47 and will not be one of the 22 teams included in the NBA's resumption of play in Orlando in late July.

Having his season cut short was a disappointment.

"I was mad. I was frustrated," Young said of learning the NBA's plan wouldn't include the Hawks. "Obviously I wanted to play. I understand what the NBA did and respect their decision. But I am kind of upset because I want to play."

He has said he continues to communicate with teammates like Cam Reddish, Clint Capela, Kevin Huerter and John Collins, and he hopes to organize workouts together in the future.

"We can't go five, six months without seeing each other," Young said. "We are trying to take this to new heights next year."