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Suns head coach Monty Williams ‘angry, afraid and in pain’ amid riots

PHOENIX — Statements issued by the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Suns head coach Monty Williams called for change following a night of vandalism and graffiti seen near Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday.

The home of both the Suns and Mercury suffered damages as riots marched through the streets of downtown Phoenix in protest of police brutality following the death of George Floyd on Monday.

“I’m angry. I’m afraid. And I’m in pain,” Williams began his letter.

He expanded on looking for solutions to problems of racism, including personal experiences from growing up in Virginia.

It stressed multiple times the anger, pain and fear he feels personally and for the community at large.

I’m distraught as I look at my boys – two are African American and one is Caucasian – because too many people see them differently. None of them should have to think about how law enforcement will treat them if pulled over for rolling through a stop sign. None of them should be followed through a department store by security. None of them should feel the sweat rolling down their back when a cop follows them for blocks. Alas, their worlds are different, and something is wrong with that.

Following an expression of gratitude for the members of law enforcement who serve “ALL people,” Williams finishes his letter with a call for change and a quote.

“It IS time to raze the institutional foundations of racism and segregation within politics, law enforcement and society at large. It must happen NOW,” Williams said.

“Borrowing from C.S. Lewis, ‘you can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.’ We must be the change now.”

Williams also said that he doesn’t believe destroying property is the answer.

“To those who are using the façade of a protest or march by choosing to destroy and tear down, I challenge you to be better,” Williams said.

The Suns and Mercury also echoed his sentiment for change in a joint letter released by the teams on Sunday.

“We must raise our voices and come together peacefully so that everyone can feel safe while striving for change,” the statement read.

The release also included the quote from C.S. Lewis while encouraging peace and love among the community.

“Condemn violence and hate. Embrace love and change,” the joint statement said.

“The Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury organizations stand alongside those who will fight for justice, inclusion, and the suppression of bigotry,”

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery were all cited as examples of recent police brutality and prejudice that has sparked riots and protests throughout Phoenix, Scottsdale and other cities across the country.

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