Bucks guard Sterling Brown has landed in the middle of a national debate on police use of excessive force with black men. Last January, Brown was thrown to the ground and tased over a late-night parking violation, a situation where six police officers were called but, in the video, Brown shows no signs of resistance (you can see the video above). Brown filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department regarding the incident, the city’s mayor apologized for it, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission asked for a full review of, and the officers involved faced mild suspensions. The Milwaukee City Attorney filed papers in court saying the officers did nothing wrong, the Bucks organization responded with support for Brown.
“At the end of the day, I’m always going to have my brother’s back. That’s all that matters. I had a chance to talk to him and I told him, ‘whatever you need, I’m here,'” Antetokounmpo said. “As a team, we talked about it, we told him, ‘no matter what you believe, that was wrong. We’re going to have your back.'”
NBA players have not been afraid to speak out on police brutality issues, going back to LeBron James and the Heat honoring Trayvon Martin or the players that wore “I can’t breathe” shirts during warmups after the Eric Garner incident.
This time nobody died, fortunately, but the pattern was the same — an unnecessary escalation to violence. Brown has a certain status as an NBA player that makes this case high profile, and it brings him support from other high profile individuals, but the concern is for the people this happens to who do not have that status or the ability to push back against the system the same way.