It’s not that Jonathan Kuminga was refreshing his timeline to see if the four head coaches on his final list of colleges would speak out against social injustice, but, yes, he wanted to hear their response in this time.
Back on May 22 when he narrowed his options to Auburn, Texas Tech, Duke, Kentucky or the G League, he did so partly because of the respect he had for the head coaches of the four colleges and his admiration for their character.
Three days later, George Floyd, a black man, died after being pinned beneath police officers, one of whom kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, as he was detained, sparking worldwide outrage and outcry against social injustice and racism.
Floyd repeatedly told the officers that he couldn’t breathe.
The officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, was later fired, arrested and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter; the other three officers — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
In the aftermath, all four head coaches vehemently spoke out condemning racism and calling for change, a move Kuminga said he “needed to see.”
“That was super important,” Kuminga said. “They’re not just there being coaches, they really care about pretty much everything that’s going on. I was happy seeing that.”
Kuminga came to the U.S. in 2016 from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he said he faced “worse” conditions with injustice.
“It’s not like out here,” Kuminga said. “Stuff happened every single day. A lot of people look up to me so speaking up is really gonna help a lot of people. A lot of people will feel like they’ve got someone there for them all the time that will want to help the country and help everybody.”