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Heat's Udonis Haslem 'confused, torn, frustrated' in wake of Miami's violent protests

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

Miami Heat captain Udonis Haslem spoke out Sunday about the unrest in Miami in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, while also expressing ongoing disgust with about what happened to Floyd in Minneapolis.

Speaking at a news conference in Miami, Haslem said he felt compelled to add his voice to those who already have spoken out.

"There definitely has to be justice for George," Haslem said. "There definitely has to be protest for what happened to George. But I'd be lying if I said it's been gone about the right way. I'd be lying if I said I'm proud of what's really been going on.

"I have an obligation to this community, because this community has done so much for me. But I also have an obligation to the police department, as well, who so many of my family are members -- come here every day, and they work, take care of people, they make sure people are safe. So there's got to be a better way.

"I stand here right now confused, torn, frustrated. I wasn't even supposed to be here."

Haslem said he did not plan to attend the press conference called by Miami city officials urging protesters to shun violence and destruction, but ended up reaching out to City Commissioner Keon Hardemon.

"I literally texted Keon, and was, like, 'Yo, I just want to come. I just want to be a part of the solution,' " Haslem, 39, said.

"We have to have a plan moving forward. It has to be together. Like Keon said, 'You've got to part like the Red Sea when you see that foolishness coming.' As a black man, raising black kids in America, I'm scared as hell, way more scared that I ever was for myself, way more scared than I ever was for myself."

Haslem spoke to the South Florida Sun Sentinel about the balance needed in the situation, referencing his ongoing respect for law enforcement.

 

"I have a sister in law enforcement, my baby sister's in law enforcement," he said Friday. "I have an uncle that's in law enforcement. I have an uncle that's in law enforcement who used to be on the court in every game with us, sitting right next to our bench. I have a cousin who's in law enforcement, who grew up playing football in the city, went to the University of Miami, graduated, now he's in law enforcement. I have another cousin who's in law enforcement. I literally have 10 to 15 people in my family that's in law enforcement.

"And I would trust those people with my life seven days a week and twice in Sunday. So when people make comments about law enforcement as a whole, I can't agree with that, because I know different."

Among Sunday's protests in Miami-Dade was one at Eighth Street and Biscayne Boulevard alongside AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the Heat, including a chant of, "No justice, no peace."

Saturday night, protesters in Miami ended up setting fires and vandalizing cars after hours of peaceful protests. A curfew of 10 p.m. was in effect in Miami-Dade county Sunday night, and the city of Miami set a curfew of 8 p.m.

(c)2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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