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Golden Knights, others praised for shining light on social injustice

Updated September 1, 2020 - 1:12 pm

A group of local community organizations sent a letter to four local professional sports franchises, including the Golden Knights, to thank them for bringing attention to social injustice.

“Making a grassroots impact in our local community requires a coalition effort,” the letter said. “We of the Las Vegas community, would like to express our gratitude and enthusiasm for our local athletes and sports teams for their bravery and courage to stand up and be on the right side of history.”

The letter was signed by 17 organizations, including ACLU of Nevada, Black Lives Matter UNLV, Families United 4 Justice Las Vegas, and Forced Trajectory Project and was addressed to the Golden Knights, Raiders, Aces and Lights FC.

It came in response to a letter written by Steve Grammas, president of the Las Vegas Police Police Protective Association, that was critical of the Golden Knights organization for its statement following the postponement of Thursday’s playoff game.

Athletes from the NHL, NBA, WNBA and Major League Baseball were among those who chose to sit out games in protest last week after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake, a Black man, was shot by a white police officer.

The Knights’ game against the Vancouver Canucks was postponed and the organization released a statement Thursday that announced it would use its platform to raise awareness against social injustices and “our hope is that it helps shine a brighter light on the issue of racial equality and helps amplify marginalized voices that need to be heard at this time.”

Grammas described his “disappointment” with the Knights and wrote they “would rather jump on the bandwagon of attacking the police profession rather than waiting for the facts of an event to be brought to light.”

Grammas wrote a second letter Saturday informing members of the LVPPA that Knights majority owner Bill Foley reached out to the police officer’s union and expressed his appreciation for their work.

The community groups praised the four local professional sports franchises for “taking an affirmative stance for justice in policing.”

“We cannot end systemic racism without centering directly impacted people in decision making,” the groups wrote. “Standing up to the union and working toward justice requires action, including speaking out against injustice, especially by influential members of our community like our beloved local athletes and athletic teams.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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