Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders opens up on the death of George Floyd

Protesting the death of George Floyd.
Zach Boyden-Holmes via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Minneapolis community and broader United States is dealing with yet another tragedy that threatens to tear apart the fabric of our society.

Earlier this week, a man by the name of George Floyd died while in policy custody in Minneapolis. The video of Floyd’s death has since gone viral, and is almost too difficult to watch. Since, the four officers involved in his death have been fired. Outpouring of grief around the United States turned into riots in the Twin Cities Wednesday evening.

Protesters took to the streets in other major metropolitan areas demanding that the officers in question be charged with murder.

Needless to say, these latest racial tensions have divided a people. A native of Minnesota and a former player for the Golden Gophers, Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders spoke up on the incident Thursday.

“I am a white male in a position of leadership, and I don’t take lightly the fact that I have not experienced some of these things that our individual guys have had to experience,” Saunders told ESPN. “So I wanted to make sure we were listeners, that we could become more educated as people completely inexperienced in never getting the benefit of the doubt. I grew up in Minnesota and this hasn’t been sitting well with me for the past two days. Sometimes the silence can be deafening too. When we’re given opportunity to speak on what’s right, I think it’s important to do that.”

Racial divisions on heels of George Floyd’s death

This is obviously a pretty big sentiment since the tragic events in Minneapolis unfolded earlier in the week. White men in a position of power have no idea what the minority community has dealt with, and is currently dealing with. It’s two different perspectives. One based on experience. The other through a looking glass.

Saunders indicated that he connected with president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas and assistant GM Joe Branch on Tuesday night, mere hours after the events occurred. Ultimately, it turned into a conversation with most players on the Timberwolves’ roster.

Ryan Saunders built-in relationship with Minnesota

For Saunders and Co., it was more about gauging the reaction of his players. There was no way the organization could respond through a more societal lens before speaking to players who have been more impacted by this than the powers to be.

The son of late-great former Timberwolves front office head and head coach, Flip, Saunders is a huge part of the Minnesota community. He knew something needed to be done. And he took the proper steps to respond in kind.