Azubuike: NBA Can Work With Police, Create Change

Kelenna Azubuike explains how the NBA can help limit police brutality

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
June 08, 2020 - 8:58 am
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As protests against police brutality and racial inequality continue throughout the country, former NBA player and current Warriors analyst Kelenna Azubuike dropped by CBS Sports Radio to share his thoughts on this, and other, topics.

“I was heartbroken, and I’m still heartbroken,” Azubuike said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence, referring to the video of George Floyd’s murder. “It’s sickening. It’s beautiful to see black people and non-black [people] come out and express their outrage and protest and let their voices be heard. It’s something that has been our plight for over 400 years now.”

That is why Azubuike, 36, believes change is necessary. Now. 

“We need police reform,” he said. “We need police departments everywhere to really take a close look at how these policemen are scrutinized. [Officer Derek] Chauvin had over 17 complaints and had all kinds of issues in the past. If there was even a little bit of an investigation or he was scrutinized even a little bit, he doesn’t have the opportunity to do what he did to George Floyd. So I think even before you get to looking into current cops, it has to start at the entry level and job interviews. It has to become harder to become a cop. They need some lengthy psychological tests where they’re basically giving someone the racist test without them even knowing it.”

With increased oversight during the hiring process, Azubuike believes there would be fewer incidents of police brutality.

“If we could somehow get police departments to implement better practices when it comes to making sure these bad apples don’t even get a chance to become a cop – it’s like being a pilot,” he said. “If someone says, ‘I’ll let you be a pilot, but if I find out you’re a terrorist, I’m going to punish you’ – well, by that time, it’s too late. People have already died. You got to make sure they’re not able to become a pilot in the first place. So there’s got to be better practices to keep these bad apples out.”

Azubuike would like to see the NBA step up and send players from each team to local police departments to have a dialogue with officers and police chiefs. 

“I think that would be super effective,” Azubuike said. “The NBA has 30 of the biggest cities in the nation, and if the local teams got together and visited their police departments . . . I think that would be really impactful. If the NBA did something like that, maybe the NFL follows suit, and that would really have a huge impact.”