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Rising FC’s Zac Lubin joins Arizona athletes to speak out against racism

(Photo courtesy of Ashley Orellana)

Over the last two weeks, many athletes, coaches and teams have used their platforms to speak out against racial injustice in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis.

As tensions reached a high with weekend protests across the country, including in Phoenix and Tucson, sports figures in the state of Arizona issued formal statements to condemn racism and promote change.

Here they are, collected from their social media accounts and official releases:

Phoenix Rising FC goalkeeper Zac Lubin

Lubin joined PRFC supporter groups Los Bandidos and Red Fury during Saturday night’s protests in Phoenix.

“Humbled and inspired by yesterday’s rally,” Lubin wrote in a tweet on Sunday.

“Even more so to join with Los Bandidos and Red Fury. I hear your voices every weekend, never louder than it was this weekend fighting for equality.”

Phoenix Suns center Aron Baynes

Baynes released an open letter on his social media accounts Wednesday, opening up about his personal life and his experiences of learning more about racism as he grew older.

As I’ve grown older and I’ve earned great opportunity in life, I’ve worked to educate myself and become a better citizen to all people of the world.

As a father and as a man, I now know that I have a voice to be heard when I see injustice and I will not stand for it. Ignorance is not a crutch.

Phoenix Suns SG Devin Booker

Devin Booker posted the following message on his Instagram story.

“I’m deeply hurt. I’m also very frustrated because this hasn’t changed after generations of pain, suffering, injustice, fear, inequality…and the list goes on. After days of conversations with friends and loved ones, I don’t have an answer. I worry about how this is going to get better because this is our flawed system. It’s a system built upon racism…one race oppressing the other. The repeated cycle of the same things over and over. We don’t have our “leadership” to guide us but regardless it is time for a change. We need justice for Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. RIP”

Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson

Peterson demanded change in his strongly-worded message. He also pleaded for protests to continue non-violently.

“How many times will our leaders stand by and watch as our anger spills over into the streets to cause unnecessary havoc in our communities? Not for publicity, not for politics, not for personal interest. BUT FOR THE LIVES OF AMERICANS!???!!

“How can you expect us to come to any other conclusion than that we ARE NOT VALUED EQUALLY because of the color of our skin?? WE DEMAND CHANGE!”

Arizona Cardinals DT Corey Peters

Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner

Turner spoke from her perspective as a daughter of two black law enforcement officers.

ASU men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley

“George Floyd is one of too many. It’s heartbreaking. It’s unacceptable. It must end,” read Hurley’s tweet from Saturday.

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams

Through the Suns, Williams released a letter discussing the emotions of anger, fear and pain that he’s felt since Floyd’s death.

“I’m distraught as I look at my boys – two are African American and one is Caucasian – because too many people see them differently,” read part of Williams’ letter. “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.

“Don’t misread me. I have as much respect for most law enforcement as I do disdain for some of the would-be protesters.

“To those who have sworn to protect and serve ALL people regardless of color, religion or sexual orientation, I say thank you. We have an institutional problem with pervasive racism. It must end now.”

Phoenix Mercury coach Sandy Brondello

“How can change happen? First, we have to stop being ignorant and all come together to make the changes so that we can not only say black lives matter, but all of our actions and attitudes can demonstrate that we truly believe black lives matter,” the Mercury head coach wrote.

Arizona State baseball coach Tracy Smith

“Truth be told, I cannot find accurate words to describe what I am feeling. What repeatedly comes to my mind is …. ‘We need to shut up and LISTEN to those who are in pain!'” Smith writes on Twitter.

Arizona Cardinals

“Meaningful societal change will only come through unified actions and we are committed to being part of that change,” the NFL team’s statement read.

Arizona Diamondbacks

“… We cannot stand for reacism, nor can we be silent when we see it,” the D-backs wrote.

Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes condemned “racism, bigotry, violence and prejudice,” adding they embraced their role “to all communities of color to not stay silent.”

Phoenix Rising FC

The Valley’s USL Championship team issued a message of unity and anti-racism on Saturday.

“Together we rise.

“We rise against bigotry. We rise against injustice. We rise against violence. We rise against racism.

“We rise to stand with the Black Community.

“#RisingAsOne”

Arizona football coach Kevin Sumlin

Sumlin wrote a two-part message posted to his Twitter account on Sunday.

“In the time that has passed since George Floyd’s death, my emotions have run from immense anger to frustration; horror to resolve; sadness to hope,” the coach wrote.

“Being a college head coach, blessed to earn more than I ever could have imagined, does not make me immune to the same suspicious stares, to the same fears of being pulled over, to the same assumptions that others make of me, to the same racist remarks sent in my direction, simply because I am black.”

Arizona women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes

The Wildcats’ women’s basketball coach expressed anger, pain and frustration in her letter. She asked for change.

“It is my duty to unite, empower and educate women to have an effective voice to inspire change. This is much bigger than basketball, and we must all be a part of the change,” she ended her letter.

Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury

The pro basketball teams issued a joint statement on Saturday alongside Williams’ letter.

“Another chapter in the long history of social injustice and systemic racism in our country has been written. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are just the most recent souls we have lost to the brutality driven by hate and prejudice,” the beginning of the message read.

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

Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards

Edwards released this video on Tuesday.

“When America huddles up, we are a powerful team,” he wrote.


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