Duke’s Mike Krzyzrewski: It’s not political to say ‘Black Lives Matter’

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On Friday afternoon, Duke released a two-minute and 46-second video from head coach Mike Krzyzewski making an impassioned statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Krzyzewski opened and closed the statement, which was published on Duke’s social media channels, by saying the words “Black Lives Matter,” repeatedly emphasizing that for 400 years, America had chosed “the easier wrong” and that it is time for us, as a country, to address and solve systemic racism and the oppression of Black and Brown people in America.

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“Black lives matter. Say it. Can you say it? Black lives matter,” Krzyzewski said at the start of the video. “We should be saying it every day. It’s not political. This is not a political statement. It’s a human rights statement. It’s a fairness statement.”

Krzyzewski had previously released a statement expressing anger about the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbary and countless other Black men and women in America. He had previously commented on the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, but that statement was not as impassioned as this.

The most powerful part of the message came when Krzyzewski chastised Americans for denying the impact of 400 years of racism on Black people in this country.

“We see that,” Krzyzewski said in the video. “And what do we do when we see it? We turn the other way. We don’t solve the problem. The problem will not be solved and no problem is solved unless you acknowledge the problem. Acknowledge it. If you acknowledge it, you have the duty to solve it. We as a country have the duty to solve this problem.

“Do we not see the problem? The disease, the plague that has been with our country for four centuries. Do we not see systemic racism and social injustice? C’mon. We all see it. It’s manifested in so many ways: criminal justice, the killings that we have seen and that we haven’t seen, the denial of economic opportunities for our Black community, educational opportunities, health care. It’s manifested in so many ways and has been for four centuries.”