In the wake of ongoing protests across the country, the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday held an event called Courageous Conversations to give those within the organization an opportunity to speak to their experiences dealing with both everyday and systemic racism. These American horrors are in the spotlight once again in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. The event was not public, but was recorded for a live stream and later broadcast in part on Fox Sports Southwest.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke briefly to kick things off.
“These are times when we all need to talk to each other, we all need to learn from each other — particularly those of us who don’t look like each other,” he said.
From there, after a run down of the event’s agenda from Mavericks’ President and CEO Cynt Marshall, the mic was passed to a number of Mavs employees and players who shared some of their thoughts with those in attendance.
Dallas assistant coaches Jamahl Mosley and Stephen Silas, General Counsel Sekou Lewis, Announcer and Vice President Cedric Ceballos, and Mavs center Maxi Kleber took part in the event.
Mosley reflected on the tragic events that had preceded George Floyd’s death in recent weeks — the deaths Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery as well as the incident with Chris Cooper, in which a woman threatened to make a false claim to police.
He continued, “So, all these things kept happening, so part of you is, like, ‘Again?’”
Ceballos, similarly, make reference to the sad frequency with which stories about the police killing of Black men and women seem to make national news. He then went on to call for more accountability from police, who may not be the ones committing violence but are there to witness it and excuse it.
“I just know, if you’re wearing the badge and you want somebody to help you investigate, you ask questions and you want them answered,” Ceballos said. “You want somebody else to say something. But against another person in a badge, you don’t want to say nothing.”
Referring to Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with the death of George Floyd, Ced went on to say, “That animal had his knee on his neck, going about his everyday job, with you not sayin’ nothing. You’re doing the same thing.”
The event went on to feature talks notable non-Mavericks such as DISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Chief of Police Reneé Hall, and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Chief Hall, who became the first woman to lead the DPD when she took the position in 2017, acknowledged there is work to be done on the part of law enforcement and restated her commitment to that cause.
“I believe that for the first time in the history of policing,” she said, “there are 800,000 law enforcement officers, men and women...and we all watched one of our own put a knee on a black man’s neck, with no regard for human life, wearing the same uniform we wear...and it made us all sick to our stomach.”
“We have not gotten it right,” Hall continued. “There have been many unarmed black men killed at the hands of law enforcement, and we must own that.”
To watch the Courageous Conversations in it’s entirety, head over to mavs.com/conversation.