Grizzlies speak out after fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis

Grizzlies speak out after fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis

The Grizzlies took the court in Minnesota just hours after the video of Memphis police’s fatal beating of Tyre Nichols was released.

Five Memphis police officers have been fired and charged with murder in the death of Nichols, a 29-year-old father. The bodycam footage shows a senseless beating following a traffic stop.

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins made comments about the tragedy before and after the game.

“Our team understands the city’s hurting. The Nichols and Wells families are hurting right now,” Jenkins told Bally Sports before the game in Minnesota Friday night. “The senseless loss of life for Tyre Nichols has really hit us hard. It’s been tough not being home, being on the road. I wish I could extend my arms through this camera right now to the family. They’re going through a lot.”

He spoke about the emotions of seeing Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, speak.

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“I watched the interview with the family, and watching Mrs. Wells talk with so much strength and positivity and love was powerful. It invoked a lot of emotions,” Jenkins continued. “I cried.”

The Grizzlies lost 111-100. After the game, players were not made available to the media, but Jenkins spoke to reporters.

The Memphis Grizzlies stand for a moment of silence for Tyre Nichols before the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. USA TODAY Sports
A view of a tribute to Tyre Nichols prior to the start of the game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center on January 27, 2023Getty Images

“There’s way harder things going on in the city versus what’s going on with our basketball right now,” the coach said. “I’m proud of our guys going out there. We’re playing with heavy hearts, but we’re also playing for our city that’s going through a lot right now.”

The Grizzlies issued a statement about Nichols’ killing.

“We are distraught to find ourselves dealing with a needless loss of life due to police brutality, and this time it was one of Memphis’ own,” the team said. “We’re thinking about the Nichols family and friends, and share the pain being felt throughout the community. So, let’s support each other and respect how are fellow Memphians are coping. We have faith in this city and our power to heal.

“To the Nichols family and friends, we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences for your loss.”

This still image from a Memphis Police Department body-cam video released on January 27, 2023, shows Police officers beating Tyre Nichols, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dramatic police body camera footage shows the officers pepper spraying Nichols while he’s restrained.Memphis Police Department/AFP vi

The NBA also issued a statement: “The images of Tyre Nichols’ life needlessly cut short are horrifying. While there have been steps toward accountability in this instance, the NBA family remains committed to partnering with advocates, policymakers and law enforcement to work toward solutions to the issues we continue to face.”