NBA teams across the country Friday stood alongside the Grizzlies, the people of Memphis and the family and friends of Tyre Nichols.
On Friday, Memphis police released body camera footage and video from street cameras of the Jan. 7 police interaction that led to Nichols’ death. Five Memphis police officers have been fired and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault-acting in concert, aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and one count of official oppression related to Nichols’ death.
The latest:Memphis releases footage in death of Tyre Nichols as protests begin. Here’s what the videos show.
Ahead of the footage release, a statement from the Memphis Grizzlies read, in part: “We are distraught to find ourselves dealing with a needless loss of life due to police brutality, and this time it was one of Memphis’ own. We’re thinking of the Nichols family and friends, and share the pain felt throughout the community.”
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins spoke before the team’s game in Minnesota on Friday.
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“Our city is coping right now with loss of one of our own in Tyre Nichols,” Jenkins said. “It’s devastating.”
“To the Nichols family, my teammates and I are and have been paying attention,” Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. tweeted. “We are with you. To Memphis, we are hurting, too. Peaceful protest, supporting the family, pushing for accountability are what’s needed in this moment.”
The Timberwolves released a statement supporting the Grizzlies and the city of Memphis, as did other NBA teams.
“We extend our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies to Tyre’s family, friends, loved ones, the Memphis community and communities across the country during this difficult time,” the Timberwolves said Friday.
A moment of silence was held prior to the Grizzlies-Timberwolves game in Minnesota.
Grizzlies players were not made available to speak with the media after the game, a Timberwolves win, but Jenkins described what it was like to coach hours after the footage was released.
“It’s hard, but our guys went out there and competed,” Jenkins said. “I think the word that stands out about our group and our city is together. We talk about that all the time. There’s way harder things going in the city versus what’s going on with our basketball right now.”
“We can’t wait to get back home,” he added. “It’s time to get back home to embrace our families, embrace our community, play in front of our fans (and) represent our city with a lot of pride.”
Other NBA teams shared messages Friday night:
“We stand with Memphis,” the Atlanta Hawks tweeted Friday. “#JusticeForTyre.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers released a statement: “We grieve with Tyre Nichols’ loved ones and offer them our deepest sympathies as they grapple with the pain of his heinous and brutal murder. Our hearts also go out to the city of Memphis. As they continue their investigations into the events that led to Tyre’s tragic and untimely death, we’re encouraged by the swift response by Police Chief Cerelyn Davis. We join their city officials and Tyre’s family in calling for peace and offer them our support on their road to healing.”
“Humanity is a right and not a privilege — one he was denied by five rogue law enforcement officers,” the Miami Heat said in a statement. “While we are encouraged by the dual efforts of the Memphis Chief of Police and the District Attorney’s Office to take swift action, this tragic case underscores that demanding accountability from those who abuse their power is the first step to ending the abuse of power.”
Many other teams retweeted the NBA’s statement:
“The images of Tyre Nichols’ life needlessly cut short are horrifying,” the NBA wrote. “While there have been steps toward accountability in this instance, the NBA family remains committed to partnering with advocates, policymakers and law enforcement to work toward solutions to the issues we continue to face. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr. Nichols, the entire Memphis community and those who are affected by these tragic images and loss.”
“Our players mourn the loss of Tyre Nichols and extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Nichols family during this difficult time,” the National Basketball Players Association said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the entire Memphis community as they are processing and dealing with this horrible tragedy, and we stand by the rightful arrest of all officers involved. Such aggressive policing and excessive force illustrate the continued need for accountability in the justice system. We will continue to monitor the investigation and legal proceedings in search of justice for Tyre and his family.”
Contributing: Damichael Cole and Jace Evans