MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Grizzlies prides itself on being a franchise that has not been one to shy away from the conversation of race in sports.
Now, that conversation has turned to life and death as the past week’s events around the charged murder of George Floyd are playing out.
The Grizzlies released a statement Monday afternoon saying the organization stands squarely in opposition to racism and injustice, adding, “it is ingrained in our culture and part of our ethos, and we are going to build on established initiatives in our community.”
With Memphis’ own fractured racial history as a backdrop, the Grizzlies have used their platform as one of the nation’s 30 NBA franchises to host riveting discussions on how race has affected the sports world in conjunction with the annual Martin Luther King Day celebration game at FedExForum.
The Grizzlies will soon begin posting videos to their website, from the most recent symposiums, which have included some of the top stars, not just in the NBA, but in other major sports as well.
The Grizzlies’ MLK celebrations were created in partnership with the National Civil Rights Museum.
The team will use its mentorship program to talk about recent events, and their effects on Memphis, and the country as a whole.
Internally, noting fundamental change happens at the ballot box, the Grizzlies will begin giving their employees paid time off to be used specifically to vote in local and national elections.
The Grizzlies say they will work with the national basketball coaches association to support any initiatives they put forward in our community.