One of the most-watched murder trials in recent history finally concluded today, as Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter after killing George Floyd in Minneapolis over the summer. The move prompted reactions from all over the sport, and Gary Trent Jr. and the Toronto Raptors were by no means silent on this matter.
The Floyd murder was a flashpoint that enabled athletes all across sports to use their platform to advocate for change and social justice, with Trent, who has been amazing on the floor for Toronto, following in those footsteps. This verdict comes as a relief for Trent, who was scared that justice would not be served at the end of these deliberations.
Trent was quoted as saying that he was “scared” of the verdict, assing that seeing a police officer charged with murder without getting a conviction in situations like the Floyd case feels like a “slap in the face” or a “gut punch.” When the guilty on all counts verdict came in, Trent joined his NBA brethren in celebration
Trent retweeted Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, showing that he agrees with King James’ exaltation after a police officer was held accountable for his misdoings and excessive actions while on the job.
Trent also retweeted a stat from civil rights attorney Tahir Duckett that stated Chauvin is one of only a select few officers that has been convicted of murder despite a disproportionate amount of killings. Trent’s final message was another retweet, this time of Miami Heat star Victor Oladipo, who again praised the decision as a sign that accountability is reigning supreme.
Gary Trent Jr. and the Toronto Raptors care about social justice
When the Floyd killing happened, Masai Ujiri and many Raptors players stayed anything but silent when it comes to the issues of racial inequality, police brutality, and a lack of accountability. Ujiri penned an op-ed in which he claimed we as a people have to “stop the cycle” of protesting a tragic death and moving on before real change happens.
Ujiri himself said that he envisions going back to a time “where there is no divide, [and] instead we come together more.” Ujiri’s concepts of ideal race relations and a society in which social justice is distributed equally irrespective of color or creed is centered around the beliefs of Nelson Mandela.
Even before Trent got there, Toronto was one of the more socially conscious organizations in the league. In the Orlando bubble, not only were social justice slogans written on the back of players’ jerseys, but the Raptors even put “Black Lives Matter” on the side of their team bus and in the backdrop during interviews.
The Raptors normally play things close to the vest, never trying to stir the pot or set off a media firestorm. However, they, along with dozens of other teams, have not been shy about airing their grievances when it comes to matters like this.
History will look back fondly on players like Trent who were willing to take whatever slings and arrows came their way for the sake of doing the right thing.