Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum is one of many professional athletes who have joined protests against systemic racism and police brutality following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody.
Batum spoke with reporters (h/t Aria Gerson of USA Today) on a Zoom call Wednesday and said he attended with his wife, Aurelie, in part because of their four-year-old son, Ayden:
"I'm part of our movement because I have a 4-year-old son going to school. He's mixed, he's not really white, he's dark skinned, too, so I don't want him to [face racism]. I just want to make sure I can be part of the solution for my son later."
Per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Batum said bananas were thrown at his basketball team when he was a teenager in France. He was also called a "monkey."
Batum also said this protest was the first one he attended since doing so in France at the age of 16.
Per WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, Kidz Fed Up and the NAACP's Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch hosted the latest protest Batum attended on June 2.
"With a huge crowd including supporters, public officials, community leaders, organizers and public figures, the group united to stand against injustice in their community and all over the country," WBTV wrote.
The gathering and match featured speakers and protesters taking a knee outside police headquarters.
The Hornets have spoken out and taken action recently, with the Jordan Brand (whose namesake is team owner Michael Jordan) announcing a $100 million donation to "organizations dedicated to ensuring racial inequality, social justice and greater access to education."
Per Gerson, Hornets guard Terry Rozier and several team staff members joined the protest. Center Bismack Biyombo also expressed support for the protests and backed the Jordan Brand's donation.