Jazz Coach Quin Snyder Discusses Protests on Utah Streets

Jun 1, 2020, 2:41 PM | Updated: 2:50 pm
Quin Snyder...
Head coach Quin Synder of the Utah Jazz gestures from the bench in the first half of a NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 19, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder joined the Woj Pod to discuss his new efforts to combat racism. Snyder, along with several other NBA coaches is on a committee to support racial justice and reform in light of the protests that swept the country. The NBA Coaches Association formed the committee after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Snyder joined Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast to discuss the committee. The Jazz coach said it was a conversation that Pierce had with Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant that resonated with him.

“I know I hadn’t done the kind of job at that moment that I could have done communicating with those guys,” Snyder said. “Not just as friends, but as African American coaches. Johnnie is on my staff.”

Snyder recognized that combating racism required more than just supporting his fellow coaches and players.

“Trying to be transparent with yourself and being a little bit uncomfortable knowing that, you know, in your heart, ‘I’m not a racist,'” Snyder said.

“But it’s also about being willing to have that dialogue, to be transparent, to be honest with yourself. And ultimately, I think as a white man, what I was hearing was, we need help.”

Hawks Coach Lloyd Pierce

Hawks coach Pierce recognized the trauma he was experiencing after a conversation with Hawks coaches and players.

“I am not okay. I was extremely emotional this week,” Pierce said. “There’s a fear as an African American man. Forget the coach part, the coach part is irrelevant. As an African American man, there’s a fear that I have that I know a lot of other people have that needs to be addressed and needs to be spoken about.”

Pierce reached out the NBA Coaches Association to form a united front about the issues many of the league’s players and coaches face as African Americans.

“If we were a coaches association, and we’re unified on certain things, this is the most important thing,” Pierce said. “We need to do something and it has to happen now.”

Over the weekend, all 30 NBA coaches joined a zoom call to discuss the committee. Now, more meetings are underway to install change.

While the NBA has taken steps to address racial inequality, Pierce hopes to institute long term changes.

“Everyone’s got a lot of ideas. And that’s — we’re at least planning and we’re there,” Pierce said. “The word we’ve used consistently and sustainable. You know, whatever we do, it has to be sustainable.”

Formerly, players wore ‘I can’t breath’ shirts after the death of Eric Garner in New York police custody.

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“We’ve seen the I can’t breathe t-shirts, and we’ve seen the patches and the buttons,” Pierce said. “And we would love to do that. We would love to do any and everything that we can. But what we really need is systemic change. And we need to get with law enforcement officials, we need to talk about those things. And we’ve thrown out every idea every possible option of what is true change. Impactful change that we can create, that we can keep and sustain. Every NBA city can be a part of it.”

Protests in Utah

The committee wanted to include coaches of all backgrounds to ensure the responsibility wasn’t left to league’s black coaches.

“This is not just a black problem,” Snyder said. “That’s one of the things I continue to hear and understand that this is in some ways, this is a white problem.”

“What [Pierce] has been through, what [David Fizdale] has been through. Some of the experiences that they’ve had, they just haven’t happened to me. But, that doesn’t mean that they’re not real to me. And my path is different, and there’s nothing wrong with that.’

Despite a small African American population, several protests were held across the state of Utah.

“There were protests, significant protests, not maybe as much in numbers but impassioned in Salt Lake the other day. I don’t think people were surprised. But it was noteworthy,” Snyder said.

On Sunday, after protests in the state of Utah, Jazz owner Gail Miller issued a statement condemning the death of Floyd, and the role of racism in our community. However, Snyder warned that even if the issues seem far away, they should still be felt locally.

“Statements don’t solve problems. But they certainly can provide some direction,” Snyder said. “I think that in our community, see what’s going on around the country and understanding that you’re not removed from it. You’re not immune to it just because you don’t see a black person in your neighborhood. Just because it isn’t touching you the same way. You may need to raise your awareness more.”

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