NBA star Kyrie Irving is teaming up with rapper Common, journalist Jemele Hill and several others for a unique television special seeking justice for Breonna Taylor.
A news release on Wednesday, July 8, announced that the Brooklyn Nets guard will produce and co-host a one-hour special titled “#SayHerName: Breonna Taylor,” which is set to air on Wednesday — the same day as the announcement — at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on PlayersTV, a network on Samsung TV Plus. The channel was created in March 2020 as a way for athletes to create their own content. NBA stars Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. are just a few of the platform’s owners. Samsung TV Plus is a streaming service that is exclusive to Samsung smart televisions.
According to the Players TV statement, Irving, along with the co-founder of Black Live Matter movement Alicia Garza, Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and many more, will continue his efforts to shine a light on societal issues and increase awareness about police brutality.
The program reportedly will include specific calls for action, such as calls to offices of both city and state officials, voter registrations, and social media posts that bring attention to Taylor’s case.
On March 13, Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT from Louisville, Kentucky, was shot and killed by plainclothes Louisville officers who were serving a no-knock narcotics search warrant as they entered her apartment.
Taylor was asleep in the apartment with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker at the time of the incident. Hearing the noise of the front door being breached, Walker fired his weapon first as officers burst through the entrance, striking Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. Officers returned fire, hitting Taylor eight times. No drugs were found in the home.
The deaths of Taylor and other Black people such as George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks have resulted in an increase of anti-racism protests throughtout the nation. During an interview with ESPN, Irving expressed that as society is calling attention to police brutality and systemic racism “it is critical to magnify how these unjust behaviors and practices are directly impacting Black women.”
Over the past few weeks, the Brooklyn Nets star has been vocal about social justice reform. Last month, Irving, who is also a vice president of the NBA players union, publicly objected to the NBA’s plans to restart the season at the end of July amid racial unrest in the country. Irving had already been declared out for the season after shoulder surgery this past March, so he personally would not have had to suit up to play for the planned restart. However, during a conference call with more than 80 fellow NBA players, including Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony, Irving reportedly said that he would be “willing to give up everything” to fight on behalf of marginalized people and communities.
Kyrie Irving on players call Friday, per sources: “I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform).”— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 13, 2020
Irving stood his ground when he released a statement through ESPN on June 15. The point guard said, “As an oppressed community, we are going on 500-plus years of being systemically targeted, used for our IP/Talent, and also still being killed by the very people that are supposed to ‘protect and serve’ us.” He continued, “We have had enough! We are combating the issues that matter most. We will not accept the racial injustices that continue to be ignored in our communities. We will not be kept in the dark when it comes to our health and well-being. And we will not ignore the financial motivations/expectations that have prevented us historically from making decisions.”