Erik Spoelstra on Grand Jury Ruling in Breonna Taylor Case: 'It's Not Justice'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2020

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra reacts during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke about Wednesday's grand jury ruling in Louisville that did not directly indict any police officers in the shooting and killing of Breonna Taylor. 

"It's not justice," he told reporters.

"Incredible disappointment and frustration in our locker room," he added, per Mark Medina of USA Today. "There should. Our guys have been able to manage a lot of this disappointment over the last several months of things that have been happening for way too long."

Former police officer Brett Hankison was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment charges for shots that went into the apartment of Taylor's neighbors, per Ray Sanchez and Elizabeth Joseph of CNN

Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove were not charged with anything, and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the officers were "justified in their use of force."

Taylor was shot to death inside her own apartment when police executed a no-knock warrant on March 13.

Her death, as well as the police shootings and killings of many other Black people, including George Floyd and Jacob Blake, have sparked worldwide protests. Many NBA players joined the protests before the season resumed in the Walt Disney World Resort bubble and have continued using their platforms to fight against systemic racism and police brutality.

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Players have worn shirts with messages such as "Black Lives Matter," used their time at press conferences to call for justice for Taylor and even refused to play in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Blake.

Many athletes reacted to the news Wednesday:

Spoelstra was not the only head coach to express such sentiments, either.

"It's so demoralizing," Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, per Medina. "It's so discouraging. I just keep thinking about the generation of American kids of any color. Is this way the way we want to raise them? Is this the country we want to live in?"

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters, "It's tragic ... I know we've been using our platform down here to try to bring about education and a voice. And a lot of players on our team, especially, have also spoken out on justice for Breonna Taylor and we have not gotten that justice. And that's a shame."

Spoelstra's Heat play the Boston Celtics on Wednesday in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.