Monty Williams speaks out, checks on Suns players as protests continue

Jun 2, 2020, 7:47 PM | Updated: 7:50 pm
Phoenix Suns new NBA basketball head coach Monty Williams speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, May...
Phoenix Suns new NBA basketball head coach Monty Williams speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams was like many, trying to deal with how he was feeling and figuring out how to help as protests for the death of George Floyd across the world continued.

Again, like a lot of us, Williams was watching the protests on his television. When he was observing them with his kids, that’s when inspiration hit through what he was feeling.

“To be straight, I felt a bit helpless but also felt like I was a bit privileged,” he said on a video call with media Tuesday. “Because I’m the coach, because I make the amount of money that I make and I can go back to my house in this gated community — I felt a bit incubated and isolated and almost felt like I was hiding a bit by being quiet.”

Williams ended his silence, releasing a letter on The Athletic through the help of the team, calling out for a change to the “institutional foundations of racism and segregation within politics, law enforcement and society at large.”

His letter was closely followed by the Suns’ statement, a moment when he could sense he was representing the team.

“That’s when I felt it,” he said. “I felt like I was in a position to represent the team on this platform. I don’t particularly see myself in that way having a platform but I think you have to do the best you can with what you have and not worry about the size or the scope of who you’re gonna reach. Just do it.”

Prior to the letter’s release, Williams went on a call with general manager James Jones, owner Robert Sarver and his players to let them know what he was doing and giving them an outlet if they needed it.

“Basically wanting them to know that we validate, support and are here for them, but especially their feelings,” he said.

Given the protests, the COVID-19 pandemic and the NBA season still being suspended, Williams understood the weight the current times could hold on his players.

“That’s a lot of stuff to deal with,” he said. “We wanted to let them know we’re here for them.”

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