Nurse on Canadian anthem: “We need to do better in the systemic racism area”

Nurse on Canadian anthem: “We need to do better in the systemic racism area”

Nurse on Canadian anthem: “We need to do better in the systemic racism area”

The Toronto Raptors will treat both national anthems as “one long song” ahead of their opening game of the NBA restart on Saturday, according to coach Nick Nurse.

Two days after every player and coach kneeled for “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a pair of games on opening night, the Raptors are expected to follow suit prior to their first game Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.

When asked about the Canadian anthem, Nurse pointed out that “we certainly have our issues with police brutality in Canada. We don’t want anyone to confuse that, it’s certainly an area Canada needs to work on as well.”

The images of dozens of players and staff kneeling with arms linked during Thursday’s U.S. anthem were powerful. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who was at the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Lakers game, called the moment ”beautiful.”

Playing both the U.S. and Canadian anthems pre-game will create a different moment Nurse said.

“(But) this isn’t about countries, this isn’t about the borders, to me it’s about continuing to shine the light on that we need to do better in (the) police brutality area, we need to do better in the systemic racism area,” the coach said. ”That’s not just Canada, America, that’s a lot of places, so we treat that as one long song tomorrow.”

Major League Soccer kicked off its MLS is Back Tournament with a silent ceremony that saw more than 170 Black players from nearly every team ring the field, also at Disney World. The demonstration lasted eight minutes and 46 seconds, the initially reported time a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, eventually killing him.

Toronto Blue Jays players Anthony Alford and Santiago Espinal kneeled during “O Canada”, then were joined by Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in kneeling during the U.S. anthem in their opening game last Friday at Tampa Bay.

In the NHL, nobody kneeled during exhibition games this week in Toronto. Players from opposing teams either stood side-by-side or locked arms.

The NHL’s official restart begins Saturday.

Lowry and several other NBA players, including former Raptor DeMar DeRozan, were in attendance for the Lakers-Clippers battle. Utah and New Orleans met in the earlier game.

Lowry said the anthem demonstrations set the tone for “what we’re down here for.

“Those four teams, including coaches in the organization, I think it was beautiful what they did and they did it in unison, and for us to be able to do that in our league, support us, and our players and all of us being one,” he said. “Yes, we’re all competitors and, yes, we want to beat each other, but at the end of the day we’re out here trying to get some social justice.”

A major theme of the restart is amplifying social justice messages.

“As I watched (the anthems), you could feel it stirring some emotions in your heart and in your mind,” Nurse said. “That, to me, means it was impactful, I’m sure a lot of people felt as I did.”

Lowry said he was thinking about specific events.

“What was going though my head was justice for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Eric Garner, all these guys, all these Black human beings, Black men and Black women, being killed in cold blood,” he said. “That stuff hits hard and I have two young children and I would hate to have that happen to them or happen to me or anyone in my family or anyone I know.”

WNBA players walked off the court prior to the anthem when the league tipped off last Saturday.

Nurse, who wore an orange WNBA hoodie for Friday’s Zoom call, said he’s always been a big fan of the women’s pro league, and used to watch games either on TV or live to get his summer basketball fix.

“They’ve been in the news doing some cool things,” he said of the WNBA’s restart.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2020

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

NBA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The external wall of the Bentley Post Office was destroyed when a semi drove into the building, resulting is an estimated $50,000 in damages. (Photo Submitted)
Sylvan Lake RCMP lay charges in post office destruction

One suspect is in custody the second suspect has a warrant for his arrest

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

The first pages of the book, by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, MLA Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Devin Dreeshen. (Photo Submitted)
Ag Minister announces 20% off crop insurance for Alberta farmers

Dreeshen says this will support job creators and boosting rural economy during a difficult time

Mom’s Diner owner Wesley Langlois has joined a growing number of Alberta restaurants that are allowing sit-in dining despite public health restrictions. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Red Deer diner joins sit-down dining protest

Mom’s Diner has joined a growing list of Alberta restaurants flouting health restrictions

Young hockey players were out on Bentley Tuesday for a march to a support a return to sports. (Photo courtesy of Bobby McKinlay)
(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Most Read