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Tampa Bay activists respond to pro athletes taking a stand against social injustice

Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 23:32:52-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Pro sports have come a long way since Colin Kaepernick first took his knee in 2016 during the national anthem.

“We have never heard or seen a sports team and not just a team, but you’re talking about the NBA, WNBA,” said Pastor Thomas Scott, a Civil Rights activist in Tampa. “And all of these national teams speak out and protest Which sends a loud and strong message.”

Racial Injustice NBA Basketball
Black Lives Matter is displayed near the NBA logo in an empty basketball arena Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The NBA playoffs will resume Saturday after the league and the National Basketball Players Association detailed the commitments that made players comfortable continuing the postseason. In a joint statement released Friday, the sides say they will immediately establish a social justice coalition, made up of players, coaches and owners, that would focus on issues such as voting access and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

From postponed games to walkouts — players have decided to take a stand together against police brutality and social injustice.

“I think what that is doing is taking the focus away from the national anthem and away from the military and getting that message that this is not about the flag, this is not about the anthem, this is about what’s going on in our country,” said Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy. “I think that’s a step in the right direction.”

Yvette Lewis, the President of the NAACP Hillsborough County Branch believes the players are genuinely concerned about certain narratives in our country.

“I just hope the owners understand what the players are experiencing and why they are feeling the need to stand out or stand up,” said Lewis.

She, along with Scott and other civil rights activists in the Bay Area, said the next step is having “courageous conversations” about race and inequality and the steps businesses, government and the community must take to make real change.

“I put a challenge out there, come knock on our door, let’s sit down, how can we move this county and the city better and move it forward?” she said.

Lewis has been strategizing with the Tampa Bay Rays already and the Tampa Police Department confirms Police Chief Brian Dugan recently met with the Buccaneers.

I think the communication that we have on a daily basis about social injustice is important for all of us,” said Bucs quarterback Tom Brady. “ [I’m] just trying to listen and learn certainly from the guys on my team and the guys that I connect with, and do as much as we can to help going forward.”

The NHL canceled games for Thursday and Friday and say the Bolts' Game 4 matchup against the Boston Boston will take center ice Saturday at noon and Monday at 7 p.m.

The Rays will take on the Baltimore Orioles Friday at 7 p.m.