‘Our society needs to do better’: Jaylen Brown, Joe Mazzulla share their thoughts on Tyre Nichols’ death

"We live in a broken world where we don't hold each other accountable enough to the simple things in life."

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Joe Mazzulla and Jaylen Brown. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Jaylen Brown put things into perspective following the Celtics’ dramatic overtime win over the Lakers on Saturday.

Saturday’s game took place roughly 24 hours after the body camera footage of Tyre Nichols’s death was released. Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man from Memphis, Tennessee, was beaten by police at a traffic stop on Jan. 7 before passing away three days later.

Brown admitted that it was “tough to come out and play a game in the midst of a viral video that’s floating around and creates that sort of trauma.”

“I would be lying if I said something like that hasn’t happened before or potentially can happen again,” Brown said. “I think it’s a systemic issue. I think we can continue to use the words like reform, and until we look at the foundation and how things have been initiated and created and designed, I think we’re going to continue to run into the same issue.”


Brown, a vocal advocate for social justice and police reform over the years, said that instances like Nichols’s death wouldn’t make him back down from wanting to see the change he wants to see.

“I break it down as like, there’s certain people that want the world to change and continue to move forward, and there’s certain people that’s OK with where the world is at,” Brown said. “I’m going to continue to challenge those people, because it doesn’t matter if it benefits your pockets or benefits your financial opportunities.

“We have to push our society forward and we gotta do better in a lot of regards. So, in terms of what happened in Memphis, I send my condolences to the family. I couldn’t really make it through the video, but as we’ve said many times, and we’re going to continue to say, our society needs to be better.”

Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla opened up his pregame press conference on Saturday by saying that he wants to “pray for Tyre Nichols’ soul” along with Nichols’ mother and family on behalf of the Celtics and his family.

“I pray for their family in real prayer, just praying for their grief and for their understanding of the situation, and to open up my heart,” Mazzulla said. “I do think there is multiple things here. There’s a systemic issue, there’s a cultural issue, there’s a leadership issue. Bigger than that, there is an issue of — this is a broken world.


“We live in a broken world where we don’t hold each other accountable enough to the simple things in life of love, respect, of treating your neighbor the right way, and loving your neighbor. And instead, we praise pride. We praise arrogance. We praise entitlement, and we all feel like we can do whatever we want at times, and that’s not how this world works.

“So, our Celtics organization grieves for that. We pray for that. It’s really important that we’re a representation of love, we’re a representation of hope and taking care of the guy next to us. That’s what it’s all about.”

When asked how he balances real-world issues while preparing for a basketball game as a head coach, Mazzulla said, “I’m not a basketball coach. I’m just a person that shows up every day that helps people.”

“I think that’s how you have to look at it: I don’t coach basketball, I don’t really care as much about basketball as much as I care about the people next to me, the people that I can influence, the people that I can help,” Mazzulla said. “That’s the foundation of love and faith and respect and understanding of the guy, regardless of what you do or who you are. I don’t think it matters. My identity is not in what I do. I think that’s a message we can learn from.”


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