On a night when the pillars of our democracy were threatened and the Capitol desecrated, it was fitting that the teams playing represented two of the United States’ most storied cities: The nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. and the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, Pa.
Last night’s game presented myriad storylines: Bradley Beal’s career-high and franchise-tying 60 points; Joel Embiid and Seth Curry scoring a combined 66; the Philadelphia 76ers shooting 62% from three; Russell Westbrook dislocating a finger late in the game.
While all would make for intriguing leads, none remain the focal point from the Washington Wizards’ 141–136 loss to the 76ers last night.
On one of the darkest days in American history, a dangerous and criminal group, incited and egged on by U.S. President Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol, the stronghold of our democratic values, in an attempted coup d’etat. Sounds extreme, but that’s what yesterday’s events were.
Having been fed lies about fraudulence during a free and fair election, the supporters of this sick, demagogic and pathetic man displayed savagery that was both appalling and unprecedented.
Before the game, Wizards guard Jerome Robinson tweeted his dismay. “I can’t even put words together about how I feel about those terrorists... it’s just sad to watch.”
Also before tipoff, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks shared his thoughts on what transpired in the city he calls home.
“This should not be allowed [to happen],” he said. “It’s unacceptable. It’s America’s capital. They should not be able to do what I saw on video. It’s disgusting. It’s embarrassing and it should never have happened. You should not be allowed to get into the Capitol and do what I saw today.”
Which begs the question: How was it that, following months of the president stoking the flames of conspiracy and sedition, that law enforcement found itself undermanned and unprepared for actions that had been openly planned on social media platforms?
These domestic terrorists selected January 6, 2021 because it was the day the U.S. Congress would vote to certify results of November’s presidential election.
And why, after armed rioters breached the doors of the U.S. Capitol, did the Commander-in-Chief do nothing to dissuade his supporters from enacting the very violence many had warned was imminent?
For those who haven’t been following, it’s because the overwhelming majority were white.
“It’s very emotional,” Beal told reporters during his postgame press conference. “It’s very disheartening in a lot of ways because just the lack of sense of urgency there was to respond to what was going on versus protesters at Black Lives Matter over the summer…”
“Kyrie [Irving] tweeted something that Trump tweeted a few months ago, literally about the guys and people who vandalized and basically disrespected any piece of federal property in Portland and around the U.S., and those people will face a minimum of ten years in prison, so we’ll see if he has his foot in his mouth or if that’s something he really stands for.”
All this on the heels of the decision to not prosecute the officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times, in front of his children, in Kenosha, Wis. on August 23.
“My biggest thing is bringing more attention with Jacob Blake and his decision and that case and how they’ve decided to not bring any criminal charges against those officers when he was shot seven times,” Beal said. “That’s another issue we’re still dealing with. We continue to fight the good fight, and we continue to get in front of these lawmakers and these politicians and continue to lay the hammer down till change is made. The biggest thing is the ‘p’ word, patience. Changes aren’t going to be had overnight, so we gotta understand what that looks like and what that means.”
The tweet Beal referenced highlights the stark double standard that exists in this country with regard to race. When peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters gathered this past spring and summer in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Blake and many others, the president posted the following on Twitter.
In response to the lawlessness and violence that took place yesterday, the president told his supporters that he “loved” them and that they were “very special.”
Yet another example of the many contrasts between peaceful protests this summer and yesterday’s insurrection was retweeted by Robinson.
Remember when they shoved a senior citizen so hard he cracked his skull on the pavement and he started bleeding out of his ears? https://t.co/fuc9QGkXOu— Tara Millette (@LazyGinger) January 6, 2021
And the most insidious part of the double standard that lives within this country — captured on video — boils down to one word: privilege. Privilege is being able to take a selfie with law enforcement or having gates opened to you by the very people who used tear gas and police batons on those who don’t have the same level of privilege.
“It’s disheartening that this is what we are as a country,” Beal said.
As a country, we are deeply divided and vastly unequal. We are a country founded on racist beliefs and an unbelievable disparity in wealth and privilege, and yesterday’s events only served to further illustrate the nation’s blatant hypocrisies.
“I haven’t had much time to take it all in,” Westbrook said after the game. “It’s very unfortunate. [Just] think if those roles were reversed and [it had been] African Americans and Black people, it would be totally different. Unfortunately, there’s so much going on, so many people losing their lives due to COVID, losing their family members. Sometimes we can’t control civilians in what they do. We can only control what we do to make change in our society and that’s the biggest thing that we can do now.”