Transcript for NBA star JJ Redick speaks out about the return of sports
to you. Joining us now is new Orleans pelicans guard J.J. Redick, a 14-year veteran of the NBA. I can't believe it's been 14 years. It seems like only yesterday we were watching you play college ball at duke. J.J., thank you for getting up and being with us this morning. Tell us the thought process behind your decision opting to play. Sure. For each individual guy I think it is a very personal decision. For me, you know, I feel like I have responsibility to do my job. I have responsibility to my teammates. I have a responsibility to the league and the well-being of the league and the well-being of the future generation. I think also for me and a lot of guys, what basketball represents is normal and what so many Americans want is some return to normal and I know in bringing back sports, there's a component of normalcy for the fan and, look, that's important for us as players. We want to have, you know, go back to our livelihood and the thing we love doing and we want to give the fans something to watch. And there's so many fans who are eager to see you back but you know there are folks who are also saying this should not take place. What do you say to those who feel that nobody should be playing at this point, J.J.? I think they have a valid point. I've said this all along in all these debates about whether we should be playing, whether so and so player should play, whether I should play, I think there's no right answer and I think there's no wrong answer. I think there's truth in everybody's feeling right now. This is an unprecedented time in our country. This is unprecedented time for nearly every sports league. I think you have to go back to World War II to find this level of disruption for sports leagues so this is something we're all experiencing in realtime. We all make those decisions. I don't think it's wrong to say we shouldn't play. We'll try to play. We're trying to make the best of a bad situation. I think our leadership at the league office with Adam silver and with our union, Michele Roberts, Gary temple, Chris Paul, they've done an amazing job in trying to create an environment where we can go play basketball and as best we can only worry about basketball but that's obviously going to be very difficult. And you mention that and appreciate how up front you have been in saying while you are opting to play, that you said, quote, no comfort level in what you do. So explain to people what you mean by that. Sure. Look, we're going to have great digs in Orlando. We're going to stay at a great hotel. We're going to play in nice gyms. I'm sure we'll have nice food. That's not the type of comfort I was referring to. Comfort implies ease, ease of thought, ease of feelings. When I think of what's going on in our country right now, I think of distress, I think of grief. So we're going to Orlando which is a covid hot spot and we're trying to limit the inflow and outflow of people into that bubble. We're isolated and away from our families. There's social unrest, political unrest, there's all these things going on in our country. And, look, we have to do our job and try to focus on playing basketball to the best we can, but we realize there's way more important things going on in our country right now. And you know that it's one thing to have messaging on your Jerseys and there's going to be black lives matter on the floor, but you said it goes beyond that and you're seeing with Adam silver and others in the league, your owner, Mrs. Benson, that it goes beyond that. That there's more that needs to be done to address social injustice. Yes, we are looking to create real action and real change and what that looks like, we're still trying to figure out. I know the league and the union are working together to try to -- get through some of these issues. When covid hit you saw them step up in their communities. When the murder of George Floyd happen, you saw players step up in their communities. Leading protests in Atlanta. You saw Maya Moore and a host of wnba players opt to sit out so they can pursue change in social justice. You've seen athletes across the board step up in their communities and so for athletes and specifically for black athletes, not myself, but black athletes and 70% of our league is black, what is the league doing? What are owners doing in their communities to step up? And that's really what we mean by can we create some change through the resources that our league and our owners have? And we appreciate you being one of those to step up, J.J. Appreciate it very much and get another cup of coffee. I know on the break you were grabbing another cup of coffee. You have some long day as head of you but appreciate as always your time and my best to you and all in the league. You take care, J.J. Thank you, robin.
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