Former Utes taking a stand for social justice

Ryan Kostecka

When former Kyle Kuzma spoke with the media following his Lakers' 135-115 win over the Portland Trailblazers in game four of the first round of the NBA playoffs, it should've been a moment of elation.

After all, Kuzma played a major role in leading Los Angeles to the victory after scoring 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. His ability to be the team's third scorer and take the pressure off LeBron James and Anthony Davis was huge in leading the Lakers to a 3-1 series lead.

But instead of talking about his game performance and the fact that LA was one win away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs, Kuzma instead spoke about the racial injustice in this country. Before taking questions from the media via Zoom, Kuzma had a statement to make regarding Jacob Blake.

“I just want to put the notice out there of the Jacob Blake situation in Milwaukee,” Kuzma said. “Just such a terrible situation that we’re going through in this country still, after so many years of this it’s kind of depressing. For a man to get shot seven times by cops, unarmed, in front of his kids, that his kids will, you know, probably remember for the rest of their lives. That’s scary and not only for me but you know, every African American, every minority in this country.”

Kuzma is using his platform, as well as other members of the NBA, to voice their opinions regarding social justice. The players are done being quiet and rather, are willing to take a stand for what they believe in.

“It is something that we need to continue to work on as a society to change because quite frankly, it’s disgusting,” Kuzma added. “To have multiple cops around and not even thinking about a taser. Or even forget the taser, just simple combat, taking a man down instead of trying to shoot them. That has to change. If you watch the video, you have cops running up to the car and you want to talk about thugs all the time, you have cops shooting guys, you know, that’s not it. We have to change that, we have to continue to speak about and harp on it. To the Jacob Blake family, we just want to let you know for people that have a platform to say your name and get justice for you, along with Breonna Taylor, every other victim of police brutality.”

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Kuzma wasn't the only former Utah athlete to make a statement regarding the shooting. Former Ute football players Zack Moss and Terrell Burgess took to social media to voice their displeasure.

For those who don't know who Jacob Blake is, he's a black man who was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday night.

According to reports, Blake was allegedly breaking up a fight between two women, a fight that the police were called too prior to Blake's arrival. After breaking up the fight and with police following him, Blake walked around the front of a grey SUV, opened up the front door on the driver's side and leaned into the car — and that's when police fired seven shots at him.

Blake was taken to a hospital and according to his attorney, is currently in stable condition in an intensive care unit

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Twitter — @UtahUtes_SI and Ryan Kostecka at @Ryan_Kostecka

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