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Timberwolves' Josh Okogie calls playing field for blacks 'unfair' after George Floyd's death

Chris Hine, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Basketball

Josh Okogie can't help but replay the situation in his mind and analyze all the ways in which George Floyd could still be alive.

The 21-year-old Timberwolves guard also can't shake the way police treated Floyd compared to the way police treated Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who was sentenced to death for murdering nine black people in a South Carolina church in 2015.

"He goes into a Baptist church and mass murders all these people. The cops come. They put a bulletproof vest on him, nobody harms him. Feed him Burger King," Okogie said. "So a guy who did a crime harsh enough to get the death sentence, you give him a bulletproof vest and you feed him Burger King?

"And you got a guy like George Floyd ... he has four cops on him. One guy has his knee to his neck and he's crying for help."

It underscored Okogie's main message he wants people to know: "We're never safe. We never have a fair playing field."

Professional sports can sometimes try to stifle the views of its players in the name of not wanting to cause the dreaded D word -- distraction.

 

But in recent years, the NBA has been a place where players can express themselves, especially as it pertains to issues of race that affect them every day, and Okogie and teammates haven't been shy about sharing their thoughts and emotions on social media.

"It doesn't matter where you are or what you do, you can always be a victim of racism"

Josh Okogie

Okogie, who lives downtown, was on hand as former NBA player Stephen Jackson spoke at a rally Friday in honor of Floyd. Okogie said he could see why some people lashed out in anger over the course of the last week.

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