Influential Indy sports stars speak about racial injustice: ‘I am scared just for my own life’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Friday, the Indianapolis sports community collectively spoke up.

The question eating at these stars, and many of us who walk these same streets: What can we do as a city to help our black community? 

Tamika Catchings, Myles Turner, Anthony Walker, LaVall Jordan and George Hill set a foundation for change Friday with a conversation that lasted nearly two hours, weaving flawless between race, society and, above all, the need for change. 

Milwaukee Bucks guard and Indianapolis native George Hill said, “There is no amount of money that can get me to just shut up and dribble. I am not going to do that. I have a voice and I have a platform for a reason. I get emotional because it really hurts.”

“I have interracial kids, and I am scared just for my own life.”

Hill fought back tears as he shared his emotional journey, which has included the 2019 death of his cousin, shot 16 times on an Indianapolis street.

Hill’s anger stems from a lack of police interest in the case, with the death simply being labeled as “gang violence,” according to the former Broad Ripple High School and IUPUI star.

Local promoter and Indy pop culture mainstay Amp Harris hosted the panel via Zoom. At the center of the conversation was the murder of George Floyd. 

“George Floyd was 6-foot-7. He is a big, black man, so to speak, and that could have been any one of us on our (Pacers) team,” Myles Turner said. “It could have been anyone on Coach LaVall Jordan’s Butler men’s basketball team.” 

The panel promoted a march set for Sunday afternoon, the Monumental March, which will conclude at the Indiana War Memorial downtown. 

The courageous group behind the march, Black Women in Charge, joined the Zoom panel Friday and shared their own story of feeling a call to action. 

Together the panel urged our city to follow three actions: Reflect, Plan, Change. 

“Systemic racism is something that has been around for so long, but, unless you are actually experiencing it, you will never understand it,” Colts linebacker Anthony Walker said.

Fever General Manager Tamika Catchings said. “For those that know us and who have watched us on the court, when we get out there in the community, we don’t walk around with that jersey on.”

“The one thing that we will never be able to change is the color of our skin.”

“Creating empathy, through panels like this, where people understand more, the truth is we have a lot of catching up to do,” Butler coach Jordan said. “Black, white, or indifferent we all have a lot of catching up to do.”

Hill added, “We can have this conversation all we want to, but if we aren’t putting the things in place, it is just going to be a conversation piece. It is like that piece you put on the table for everyone to talk about, but, if we don’t pick it up, what is the true meaning of it?”