During the preseason the Los Angeles Lakers linked arms in a show of solidarity during the national anthem before their games. At the time, Lakers’ center Tarik Black said the move was “a team thing,” and that the Lakers were trying to respect both the police and the victims of police violence that anthem protests began being staged for when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick brought the issue to the forefront by sitting and later kneeling during the national anthem prior to games.
“We show respect to both sides,” Black said in October. “We’re going to stick with it as long as there’s an issue and as long as it’s going on.”
On Saturday the team put their words into action, hosting “a mixed group of LAPD” and Drew League players ranging from 16 to 24-years old in an effort “to foster community/police relationships,” according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
Lakers having first event with community youth and police officers. Tarik Black addressing the group about need to have more conversations— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) November 5, 2016
Tarik Black and Metta World Peace spoke candidly to the group about their own experiences with police, both good and bad.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 5, 2016
One clinic, or locking arms, won’t fix these deep seeded in issues in the United States, but any attempt the Lakers make to help on that front is bigger than any basketball game.