Racism: T-shirts No Longer Enough, Says Nigerian Basketballer Aminu


Nigeria international and Orlando Magic power forward Al-Farouq Aminu, has said that having already protested against racism over the years the NBA needs to make even more of a statement.

North America’s men’s NBA basketball season resumed Wednesday after it was put on hold on 11 March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The intervening months have also seen the Black Lives Matter movement return to prominence following the death in the United States of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while a police officer knelt on his neck.

Like other sports around the world the NBA has been discussing how it will show its support in the battle against racism.

“We have already taken action, as we’ve had ‘I can’t breathe shirts'” the 29-year-old told BBC Sport Africa, referring to the stance of players in 2014 following the death or Eric Garner at the hands of police in New York.

“We’ve seen guys be very vocal about the matters.

“I think what a lot of people forget is that we had a black president, we had a black Attorney General and we had let’s say many of the best basketball players in the world are black.

“All those different things happened after the Black Lives first happened and the movement first started.

“So I don’t believe that these gestures are 100% the remedy, obviously it is nice to bring awareness to different things like that but after a while you have to get the job done.”

“And I think that that’s what I’ve been emphasizing to the players, this time is on. I’m not really a one to protest that way.

“A dangerous man is one who doesn’t care about the consequences.

“We have to make sure that the consequences for doing these egregious acts are very high so that people don’t even think it’s something that they could maybe get away with or even want to consider doing.”

Aminu was born in the USA but now plays internationally for Nigeria, helping them win the 2015 African Basketball Championships, and is in contact with friends and family in Africa.

He is keen to explain that despite all the problems that Africa faces the Black Lives Matter should also resonate on the continent.

“I’ve heard some of those same sentiments and something that I would encourage them to understand is that Nigeria was colonized as well,” he pointed out.

“And those same type of rules and tactics are in systematic racism.

“Racism was implied for Africa as well and it’s done in different ways.”

He explained that when African nations declared independence all they got was actually their own land returned to them.

“That isn’t land given, there hasn’t been money given, there hasn’t been resources given after what was being done.

“So, I think that the reason that it relates to everybody, because it’s a human thing, I think that humans should be treated equally.

“I don’t think that anybody should be underneath the law in the sense of being able to not find any justice and not to be treated as a decent human being.

“So whether that is happening in Nigeria, or happening in Antartica and or on another planet, I think that as human we should always understand that there’s no reason to treat each other in an inappropriate way.”

The NBA regular season and play-offs are being completed at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

To limit the number of personnel inside the NBA ‘bubble’, only 22 of the league’s 30 teams are taking part. Franchises with no chance of progressing to the post-season are not involved.

Aminu’s Orlando Magic side re-start their season on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.