Bickerstaff: “Either you’re for equality or you’re not”

Cavs head coach addresses racism in America

J.B. Bickerstaff

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - J.B. Bickerstaff and the Cavaliers may be on hold for a while. One of the eight NBA teams not included in the resumption of the regular season, they’re still holding out hope for a brief summer league schedule. But either way, the Cavs head coach is still busy, working with other NBA coaches to address and help fix what he calls ‘systemic problems’.

And Bickerstaff agrees, the NBA has always been a step ahead when it comes to social issues.

“Yeah, there’s no doubt,” Bickerstaff said during a zoom meeting with reporters on Tuesday. "We are by far the best of the four major sports leagues in our country, by a long shot. Our leadership from the top, in (Commissioner) Adam Silver, our leadership in organizations, and our organization (Cavaliers) is at the forefront of organizations in the NBA.

Bickerstaff says he has met with the Cleveland chapter of the NAACP, has also talked with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on improving community relationships, and is serving on a subcommittee with fellow coaches David Fizdale, Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr, among others, to address issues.

“The issues in America won’t be solved overnight,” Bickerstaff says, “but the most important thing to me, the message we want to send is, we’re in the mindset of prevention. Right now, we react when it happens. As long as the media cycle is covering it, people are up in arms, then another distraction comes, and we move on from the issue. And then it happens again and we react. My goal is to prevent these things from happening.

“I do feel a responsibility,” Bickerstaff says. "Everybody should. Because this is a two-sided issue. Either you’re for equality or you’re not. There’s no neutral. We’ve let people off the hook in being neutral.

“Racism is not just a black problem,” the Cavs coach continued. “It doesn’t just impact black people. It won’t change unless we all make a conscious decision and effort to help change it.”

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